Well, that was short lived.. The 2022 Model S is the 2nd shortest ownership experience we’ve ever had with a vehicle.
We are now, for the first time in 7 years… a Tesla vehicle free household.
What happened? A combination of things…
The 2022 Model S is a nice vehicle.. it looks great, drives pretty well, but very much more in the ‘sports car’ end of driving experience. Suspension is stiff and transfers a lot of the road into the vehicle, especially at low speed ( residential neighborhoods for example ). But, the Yoke Steering apparatus is, by far, it’s fatal flaw.
We had theorized it would be abysmal to use and had planned on the eventual aftermarket swap to a round wheel… but alas, over 18 months after the deliveries of the Yoke equipped Model S, there was not a ‘great’ option that fixed all the things.
- The Yoke is MISSING the entire top of the wheel
- obvious, yes.. but after 30 years of driving, the muscle memory of being able to just ‘grab’ the wheel anywhere to continue your maneuver is very deeply ingrained.
- I can’t count the number of times I’ve grabbed at the ‘nothing’ space, only to be shocked and almost hit something due to the loss of control this action creates.
- The turn stock is MISSING
- Yes, you read that correctly… there is no turn stalk.
- Instead, you get capacitive touch button on the left control surface of the Yoke.
- This is fine if you’re always driving in a straight line… their location is easy to predict then.
- However, by the very nature of needing to use the ‘TURN’ indicator — you’ll be turning the wheel.
- If you’re in a residential area, or a parking lot.. there are many times when you need to indicate another upcoming turn.. in the middle of your current turn.
- In that moment, where you’re potentially merging into other traffic, avoiding obstacles ( curbs, kids, wayward bicycles, etc ) and need to remain laser focused on the road – now, you have to take your eyes OFF the road.. to FIND the damn turn signal on the Yoke.. so you can signal your next maneuver.
- The HORN is -NOT- on the big thing in the middle of the Yoke!
- Again, 30 years of muscle memory — always being able to honk the horn by slamming that massive hump in the middle of the wheel – no longer works.
- The horn, too… is relegated to a capacitive touch button on the right control surface of the Yoke.
- The very thing you need that could prevent an imminent collision.. that you instinctively reach for… is now a small touch surface off to the side.
- So, again.. you have to take your eyes off the scenario unfolding in front / behind you to locate said touch surface.. so you can HONK the HORN.
- The headlights and wipers are also relegated to capacitive touch controls on the Yoke
- While not as significant from a safety perspective, still, this is an unnecessary change, except for the fact that there’s no stalk to put them on… so they end up as touch controls.
The above combination, in our opinion… should be grounds for a recall, or at least offering owners the option to retrofit the stalks and round wheel to the refreshed Model S and X vehicles.
On top of all that, the profile of the Yoke at the point that you’re all but forced to hold it ( the vertical bits on the sides ) is much thicker, front-to-rear.. and thinner left-to-right. It doesn’t pose a problem for me specifically, but for someone with chronic pain, arthritis, etc… this causes unneeded pain just trying to drive the vehicle.
Now, you might be thinking – surely, the aftermarket has solved this? In part, yes… there are round steering wheels (option 1, option 2, option 3) available to retrofit to the refreshed Model S and X – BUT – they rely on transplanting the capacitive control surfaces from the Yoke to the Wheel. So, that takes care of one part, but leaves the rest of the down right dangerous bits in place. Also, they’re kinda ugly and quite expensive!
An enterprising person has found that the Model 3 stalks and wheel bold into place on the refreshed Model S – perfectly! Tesla has left the mounting points molded into the steering column for the stalks. Heck, even the connectors are in place on the steering control module to accept the stalks. Problem solved, right? no…. The capacitive buttons generate different control signals than those created by actuating the stalks. Thus, to get those retrofit stalks to function, the person had to hack their own code on an Arduino to translate the stalk signals into the capacitive signals. Alas, in over a year, they’ve still not released their code even though they created a github repo for the project.
But, Michael – you too, are an enterprising person… why don’t you just do that work yourself? I could, for sure. I have lots of experience hacking automotive control systems ( CAN bus, LIN bus, etc ) and could absolutely figure out how to make it work. BUT – it was our only vehicle. I didn’t want to risk having the car in pieces for a week or so just to figure it out. Sometimes, the car needs to be a car and get you someplace.. 😀
Why not another Tesla? Let’s say that while we know there are many, very talented and very good people at Tesla, the cloud that hangs over the company due to the ramblings of their very public CEO is too much to ignore.
So, in September, we started looking in earnest at other EVs that may meet our needs. We watched countless hours of reviews for Audi, Hyundai, Ford, Rivian, Genesis, VW, Polestar … among other EVs.
So… what did we get? If you follow us on social media, you probably already know ( ssshhh.. don’t post it in comments ). Otherwise.. stay tuned.. another post is coming with all the details.