Tesla has revealed the brand new Model S, its flagship battery-electric sedan for 2021. The new model-year…er…Model S features a touch of new exterior styling tweaks, but a highly reworked interior. While everything inside the cabin “looks” pretty much traditional to a modern vehicle, the new steering wheel is not. The new Model S has a new design steering wheel which is puzzling, to say the least. But, it’s not something out of this world of course. The new Model S features a D-Style steering device (it’s not a wheel, per se). You see, the top half of what we know of a traditional steering wheel has been rendered jetsam. All you get is the lower half of a flat bottomed steering wheel to use. This is not a revolutionary design as is.
Most race cars use a similar shape steering wheel, however, they only require a limited degree of movement from left to right to drive on a racetrack. In a race car on a race track, in most cases, you’re never really turning the wheel more than half a turn as you’re looking for the straightest line possible.
But when driving at lower speeds, on the road, one needs to turn the wheel from lock to lock in some cases. This allows for easy manoeuvrability, especially in tight spaces. To do that, one needs to be able to knuckle shuffle the steering wheel or cross hand-over-hand while turning the vehicle and that may not be possible.
However, a workaround is that Tesla may have included a new variable steering ratio rack that would adjust according to the speed of the vehicle. So only a small steering input at a slower speed would allow the wheels to turn a higher degree to make the turn. That same steering input at a higher speed would make a smaller adjustment at the wheels.
Although it is technically possible, it may be a little awkward to drive at first. It will for sure take time to get used to. But, we won’t know till we, of course, drive the vehicle in the real world and see for ourselves.
2021 Tesla Model S Other Changes
Additionally, the indicator/headlamp and windshield wiper stalks have also been removed from their traditional position behind the steering wheel. Instead, they seem to have been integrated into the buttons on the steering wheel itself. Headlamp stalks may not be an issue in the Model S because it has an intelligent adaptive lighting system. Its sensors notice changing lighting conditions up ahead and turn them on accordingly on its own.
Other functions would, of course, could be controlled by the new landscape-oriented 17-inch touchscreen. It is a similar infotainment unit we find in the Model 3 and it uses a high power graphics processor that is comparable to the new Sony Playstation 5!
The rest of the cabin in the new Model S has been redone as well. The dashboard is new to accommodate the new touchscreen of course. The exterior styling tweaks give the Model S a new look with some restyled bumpers. There will be a dual-motor all-wheel-drive version for the Long Range model or the Tri-Motor Plaid variant which does 0-100kph in just 1.99 seconds. There is also a Plaid+ which performs similarly but has an 830+km of driving range on a single charge.
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