Lucid Motors has decided against adopting Tesla's controversial yoke steering in its upcoming Gravity SUV. The move comes as Tesla faces a divided response from its fanbase regarding the unconventional rectangular steering apparatus.
Derek Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Design and Brand at Lucid Motors, revealed the company's considerations during an event previewing the Gravity model. Despite exploring the possibility of incorporating a yoke, Lucid ultimately deemed it a compromise they were unwilling to make due to concerns about operability.
“We just felt it was a compromise we weren't willing to make,” Jenkins stated.
In contrast to Tesla's approach, Lucid explored approximately 30 steering-wheel shapes before settling on what Jenkins described as a “squircle.” This unique design aims to provide drivers with an unobstructed view of the expansive screen situated behind the Gravity's steering wheel, a focal point for Lucid's design philosophy.
— Lucid Motors (@LucidMotors) November 29, 2023
While the yoke design achieves clear visibility, concerns over drivability were paramount for Lucid Motors. Jenkins emphasized that the yoke's limitations, such as the inability to switch grips easily and challenges in maneuvers like backing up or executing three-point turns, were decisive factors against its adoption.
The Gravity's squircular steering wheel not only addresses visibility concerns but also enhances comfort in reaching the 34-inch touchscreen behind it. Eric Bach, Lucid's Chief Engineer, emphasized the importance of this feature, particularly as the full touchscreen replaces traditional analog gauges, a departure that remains unconventional in the automotive industry.
In light of Tesla's experiences with the yoke, including its initial introduction as standard equipment for two vehicles in 2021 followed by a shift to a $1,000 optional feature, Lucid Motors' decision to embrace a more conventional steering wheel design reflects a nuanced approach to the ongoing debate surrounding innovative steering solutions in the EV market.
Lucid Motors aims to launch the Gravity SUV, with its distinctive steering wheel, in late 2024, offering consumers an alternative perspective on driving innovation in the rapidly evolving electric vehicle landscape.