• Sanjay Manival Raju

Tesla's Yoke-Steering Affair

The past century has seen substantial advancement in the field of automobile. At the forefront is Tesla, the market leader steering us to a rejuvenating driving experience. Naturally, Tesla played a new card with its Plaid model.

A couple of weeks ago Tesla released a few renders of its upcoming generation- Plaid. The models receiving this facelift will be the privileged Model S and X. The startling change is in a minimalistic “cockpit”- literally! Inspired by the aviation sector, the Plaid models will flaunt a yoke or rather “yoke like” steering wheel, now paving the way for the future of automotive design.

There were a few shows of hands, questioning the maneuverability and ergonomics of this design while some may have even attributed it to the eccentricity of “the visionary”. In this article, I prefer to share my views on why this design has a persona of its own. If you are interested in “under the hood” specifications of the Plaid, I have left a link here, to the official webpage.

With software at its core, Tesla’s idea of a car has been unconventional, enough to churn criticism from the petrol heads. Tesla is determined to break convention and inspire the future of automobiles by bringing aviation-esque controls in the hands of a driver. The past decade has seen a development of hybrid technology, particularly flying cars. I can say for certain that millennials are aviation fanatics, mesmerized by the sophisticated design and engineering of an aircraft. Apart from a flight Simulator Gear, the yoke steering is the closest we could get, to be cocooned in a modest cockpit of their own.

With respect to automotive styling, a front grille, on the outside, has been a trademark component of most brands. Whilst 3/4 spoke steering wheel, bearing a logo has always symbolized a brand. The Yoke Steering is an embodiment of Tesla’s intent to overwrite automotive design. It is also a message- to its fandom and the entire industry that Tesla has decided to take automotive experience to exhilarating altitudes. Elon Musk’s passion for aerospace and the Tesla Avionics comprising the Autopilot is perhaps just their Take-off role. I believe the future of the automobile is not just how the wheels are powdered instead designs that reinvent a car as we know it.

If one thinks that Tesla is killing the innate nature of driving and washing the fundamentals, to them I say- Tesla is the Apple of automobiles. What Apple did to Phones is what Tesla is doing to cars, today. If Apple can yank the headphone jack, then we can embrace an unconventional approach and a transformative design.

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