Why Steering Wheels Remained the Same Throughout the Years

Basic vehicle controls and functions have evolved over the years, with some offering major improvements that complement an array of other features. Handbrakes are being replaced by window door switches, gear selectors with volume knobs, and infotainment systems expanding beyond its intended purpose of a radio and media player. Regardless, one part has remained consistent, with most enhancements having no alterations to its shape. After all, the steering wheel is already optimized.


If it was any other shape, turning the wheel would be awkward, with certain angles leaving limited space for gripping it. The 2000s era of car modifications were keen on reinventing the wheel; not to improve driving experience, rather, to improve the interior’s aesthetics. For slow driving and cruises, it would still be manageable to drive with irregularly-shaped steering wheels, but irritating nevertheless. While most factory steering wheels have been the same and other shapes are reserved for concepts, Tesla offers a steering yoke, stylized after the ones used in aircrafts.


While it mostly functions the same, having to put extra effort in reaching one of the ends of the steering wheel makes it impractical, which, when putting into consideration the fact that Tesla aims to simplify everything, is contradictory. A reason why aircraft yokes are still in use is the fact that it tilts, and turning is minimal under normal conditions. It serves its purpose and fits the vehicle. This argument can be invalidated considering that most Tesla owners would make use of its autopilot feature, but this is assuming the fact that an individual prefers or is required to drive the vehicle manually.


p class=”MsoNormal”>A good reason why the steering wheel’s greatest additions are buttons on the left and right side is that they do not disrupt the main functions of it. The same can be said for paddle shifters. There is no reason to reinvent the steering wheel, as its next greatest evolution is removing it altogether in favor of autopilot, which still hasn’t seen enough developments to be reliable and safe.


(Images sourced from Teslarati and velocityjournal.com)

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