On Wednesday, Electrek reported on some of the new steering wheel’s features, including force touch buttons and sensor-based drive modes, due to the removal of the PRND drive stalk.
Removing the drive stalk is a bold move, to be sure, but with the growing popularity of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the change become standard in the years to come.
My speculation is that Tesla is hedging their bets that some regions will require driver monitoring systems. Europe will probably be requiring a driver monitoring system when parts of US/China have already removed the steering wheel.
— StevenB? (@stevenleebeyer1) January 23, 2021
Despite the stalkless “steering yoke design,” as the company’s website calls it, the new design also includes force touch buttons where the stalk used to be, for shifting drive modes manually between Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive.
The new steering yoke includes the same scrolls we’ve seen on Model Y and Model 3 steering wheels, surrounded by force touch buttons to use turn signals, high beams, the horn, voice commands, windshield wipers, and Autopilot.
According to an internal Tesla document obtained by Electrek, it says “The vehicle uses its Autopilot sensors to intelligently and automatically determine intended drive modes and select them. For example, if the front of Model S/X is facing a garage wall, it will detect this and automatically shift to Reverse once the driver presses the brake pedal. This eliminates one more step for the drivers of the world’s most intelligent production cars.”
Musk himself on Wednesday said, “No more stalks. Car guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees, context & nav map. You can override on touchscreen.”
No more stalks. Car guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees, context & nav map. You can override on touchscreen.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 28, 2021
As photos of Tesla’s new steering wheel have spread across the internet, onlookers have offered up mixed reviews. Regardless, Tesla’s new steering wheel is likely here to stay, and the future of driving is just beyond the horizon.
Contributing Writer at TeslaNorth.com from California’s southeast Bay Area. Covers electric vehicles, space exploration, and all things tech. Loves a good cup of coffee, live music and puppies. Buying a Tesla? Click here to get 1,000 free Supercharging miles.