The development of steer-by-wire systems, or drive-by-wire, is quickly making the traditional steering wheel obsolete. These systems remove the direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the tires, instead sending signals to steer.
This advancement has been on Tesla's radar for some time, and a well-known Tesla watcher believes they will debut it in their Model S and Model X in 2023.
Chris Zheng, who has insight into Tesla's supply chain now thinks Tesla may be looking to implement steer-by-wire in the Model S and Model X. He tweeted: Looks like Tesla will have Steering by Wire in 2023, at least the Model S/X? Consider their Yoke steering wheel.
The yoke wheel was revealed along with the new Model S in the summer of 2021. While it has a unique look and may up the cool factor of the car, many observers were not fans of the wheel. The shape does not allow for any hand-over-hand steering, and it can lead to completely crossing the driver's arms for tight corners.
However, this design would be perfect for a steer-by-wire system and it may have been Tesla's plan the entire time.
Steer-by-wire system compared to a traditional mechanical system
Elon Musk responded to the criticism of the yoke while addressing the drive-by-wire system. In a tweet dated June 17, 2021, he tweeted: I’ve been driving with the yoke for a while & it’s great imo. Progressive steering would require complex gearing or drive-by-wire without direct mechanical link. Will aim for that in a few years.
A lot has happened since that tweet was posted. The competition in the EV sector has jumped significantly, and Toyota, which is late in the electric vehicle market, got the drive-by-wire first. The system appeared in renders later in 2021 and is now in the 2022 Toyota bZ4x and the 2023 Lexus RZ450e. Surely, this has moved Musk’s “few years” goal up by a year or two.
Advantages of Steer-by-wire
There are many reasons why Telsa would ramp up the production of steer-by-wire. Firstly, the company is continuously looking for ways to reduce parts in the vehicle and therefore speed up the production time. Taking the steering column out, which connects to the universal joint before getting to the rack-and-pinion system, would save some manufacturing time.
Secondly, drive-by-wire delivers a much smoother drive as the steering wheel is no longer connected to something that is on the road. The wheel would not vibrate or pull-on uneven surfaces, making it safer for many drivers, especially those with disabilities or senior citizens, to operate the car.
Finally, the advanced system reacts to several variables to produce a precise steering ratio. That means if you are making a tight turn at slow speeds, perhaps in a parking lot, you would not have to rotate the wheel as much; in fact, it would eliminate hand-over-hand steering altogether.
While the yoke-style wheel wasn't a hit to start, it is perfect for a steer-by-wire system. With competition heating up in the EV market, Tesla is sure to implement this innovative technology sooner rather than later.
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Electric truck survey was completed by AmericanTrucks.com
Oh, the irony! American truck drivers are all revved up for electric trucks, yet they can't wrap their heads around the idea that the Tesla Cybertruck is a "real" truck. Sounds like a classic case of a truck identity crisis!
A recent survey by American Trucks delved into the opinions of truck drivers in the United States about electric trucks, revealing a sizable number of them are considering going electric. However, an interesting finding from the survey is that many truck drivers don't see the Tesla Cybertruck as a "real" truck.
The survey aimed to gauge the excitement around electric pickup trucks and understand the preferences of both truck owners and non-truck owners. Electric vehicles have been gaining popularity, but electric pickup trucks have taken longer to enter the market. With more models becoming available, American Trucks sought to identify which ones generate the most interest.
Truck Drivers are Ready for Electric
According to the survey's results, 35% of truck drivers are thinking about transitioning to electric trucks within the next decade, with most planning to do so within the next five years. The electric pickup models that have captured their attention include the Ford F-150 Lightning, Tesla Cybertruck, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Toyota Tacoma EV, Rivian R1T, GMC Sierra EV, and Canoo Pickup Truck.
Drivers' slower adoption of electric trucks can be attributed to valid concerns. While range anxiety is becoming less of an issue for most passenger vehicles, it is still significant for truck drivers who use their vehicles for heavy-duty tasks like towing. Electric trucks' range can be affected under these conditions, leading to driver hesitancy.
Cybertruck Gets the Attention
Interestingly, when the survey shifted its focus to non-truck drivers, the Tesla Cybertruck emerged as the most anticipated electric pickup. This finding suggests a difference in perception between truck drivers and the general public, who might be more attracted to Cybertruck's futuristic design and unique features.
Despite the Cybertruck's popularity among non-truck drivers, 56% of the truck drivers surveyed don't believe it is a "real" truck. The reasons for this perception remain unclear, but it could be due to the unconventional design, the vehicle's specifications, or other factors that might not align with traditional truck drivers' expectations.
Electric truck survey was completed by AmericanTrucks.com
Tesla has announced plans to begin Cybertruck production this summer, but many truck drivers surveyed believe it will be at least two years before it becomes widely available. Their skepticism might also be influenced by Tesla's track record of production delays and the fact that there are already around a million reservations for the Cybertruck.
Truck drivers are seeking longer ranges, increased availability of charging stations, and faster charging times before they fully commit to switching to electric trucks. These factors play a crucial role in ensuring that electric trucks can be effectively used for work purposes, just as their gasoline-powered counterparts have been for years. It will be interesting to see how perceptions change and whether the Tesla Cybertruck can eventually win over the hearts of traditional truck drivers.
Tesla's Model 3 Long Range may be set to make a comeback
Not a Tesla App
Tesla halted production of the immensely popular Model 3 Long Range last summer due to an overwhelming backlog of orders extending well into 2023. This move left customers with only the base, rear-wheel drive version and much more expensive performance version of the Model 3 available for purchase.
However, recent developments suggest that Tesla might soon begin accepting orders for the Model 3 Long Range once again. One of our readers, Jake Bercic, pointed out that the price of the Long Range Model 3 has appeared on a Canadian Tesla support page. The price appears among other Tesla models, which all reflect current pricing.
Update: It looks like Tesla has kept the Model 3 Long Range model on this support page, and they updated the pricing in January 2023.
The prices displayed on the Canadian support page for the Long Range Model 3 are:
Rear wheel drive: $54,990 CAD (this version in the US: $42,990)
Dual motor Long Range: $67,990 CAD (equal to approximately $49,700 USD)
Performance: $72,990 CAD (this version in the US: $53,990)
Project Highland and New Price
The possible return of the Model 3 Long Range comes amidst speculation of Tesla's Project Highland - the refreshed Model 3. We recently uncovered more details about Project Highland. The possible reintroduction of the Model 3 Long Range, coupled with Project Highland, could signal a new chapter in Tesla's EV dominance. By bringing back a highly sought-after model and potentially introducing a new and improved version, Tesla continues to demonstrate its commitment to innovation and meeting the increasing demand for electric vehicles.
The possible reintroduction of the Model 3 Long Range, coupled with Project Highland, could signal a new chapter in Tesla's EV dominance. By bringing back a highly sought-after model and potentially introducing a new and improved version, Tesla continues to demonstrate its commitment to innovation and meeting the increasing demand for electric vehicles.
This development is particularly noteworthy, as the Model 3 Long Range's previous price of $57,990 USD, made it ineligible for the new US tax credit for electric cars. With the new regulation, a price cap of $55,000 applies to passenger car models, and $80,000 for SUVs and pickups. That means all Model 3's are eligible for the $7,500 tax credit.
The halt in Model 3 Long Range production came after Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned about potential order freezes due to a sharp increase in demand for electric cars in several regions of the United States. Musk had stated that once Tesla increased production, the model variant would return to the market. Now, it seems that the time for its return might be near.
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