One other quarter, one other huge Tesla hype cycle, and the star of this season is Tesla’s novel yoke-style steering wheel. Coming quickly to the up to date Mannequin S if deemed authorized, the novel aircraft-style design has furrowed various brows, particularly amongst those that have pushed ungainly Knight Rider KITT clones. No matter doubts, although, Tesla seems set on rolling with the yoke, as evidenced by a prototype Mannequin S noticed with the brand new wheel in San Francisco, California.

Photographed this Saturday by Twitter person @klwtts, this automobile seems to be an older Mannequin S check mule, because it options no driver-facing digicam by the rear-view mirror. The yoke’s addition to a pre-facelift Mannequin S suggests it might be potential to retrofit the brand new yoke to older automobiles—or vice versa as advised by a since-deleted web page in Tesla’s configurator.

This all assumes, in fact, that Tesla’s yoke will wind up being authorized, which as of its late January reveal, the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration could not say it was. The NHTSA informed Highway & Monitor it wasn’t positive the yoke met Federal Motor Automobile Security Requirements, and that it had reached out to Tesla to confirm it may. Given R&T has posted no updates since, the NHTSA and Tesla have both not reached a verdict or not established contact in any respect—not an impossibility with Tesla’s dissolution of its communications division.

Assuming Tesla’s yoke vaults the authorized hurdle, it might require a considerably faster steering ratio to forestall drivers from performing a careless shuffle in tight turns. However with a sooner steering rack and a noncircular wheel, drivers could face an elevated threat of hand or wrist accidents throughout crashes. In racing sequence the place drivers use yoke-style wheels, similar to Components 1, drivers withdraw their arms from the wheel earlier than main impacts in order to not maintain wrist accidents from a violently jerking wheel.

Race automobile and street automobile crashes clearly aren’t the identical animal, however are yokes actually well worth the potential inconvenience, by no means thoughts an escalated threat of damage in a crash? Till this reinvention of the wheel proves itself to be greater than pseudo-futuristic gimmickry, we’re gonna should say no.