When driving a 1,020-horsepower, 200-mph-capable car, you want controls that work as expected. But form often seems to matter more than function to Tesla CEO Elon Musk of Falcon Door, anti-yellow, and "Full Self-Driving" infamy. That might be why Tesla's self-proclaimed "Technoking" decreed that the highest-performing car in Tesla's history, the Model S Plaid, will not be offered with a normal, tried-and-true steering wheel.
Musk shot down this possibility on Twitter, responding to a user asking whether this indispensable standby of automotive design will ever be an option on the Plaid. To this, the executive simply replied "no."
Full steering wheels are a must to most drivers because, as anyone who has driven a KITT replica knows, yokes aren't really good in road cars. In situations requiring high steering angle, such as parking, hand-over-hand operation is awkward at best. At its worst, it's potentially dangerous, which is why the Model S Plaid that triumphed at Pikes Peak ran without one—its driver requested the yoke's removal after just a few test laps.
This isn't to say yoke-like wheels don't have any place in cars, of course. Purpose-built racing vehicles such as Le Mans prototypes or Formula One cars often have them, though they typically utilize far snappier steering ratios than would ever be pleasant in a road car. And though it has gone racing, the Tesla Model S Plaid is a road car through and through.
Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: [email protected]