Model 3 and Y to lose steering wheel stalks; gain touch-sensitive wheel a la Model S

By Nuno Cristovao
Tesla is expected to move the Model 3 and Model Y to a steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons
Tesla is expected to move the Model 3 and Model Y to a steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons

According to Twitter user @ChrisZheng001, who has ties with the Tesla supply chain in China, the Model 3 and Model Y will be receiving a new steering wheel for the 2023 model year.

The new steering wheel will supposedly follow what has already been done with the new Model S; replacing the steering wheel stalks with touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel.

In a Model 3 or Model Y, the left stalk is mainly used for the vehicle's turn signals, but it can also be used to activate or flash the car's high beams. The button at the end of the stalk brings up the windshield wiper controls and wipes the windshield a single time.

As for the right stalk, it's used to shift gears, enable Autopilot and put the vehicle into park. The button can also be used to enable the vehicle's emergency brake by holding it down.

In the Model S, which the Model 3 and Model Y are likely to mimic, these functions are moved to the steering wheel and the touch screen.

The steering wheel will likely be similar to the one in the Model S. However, it'll likely be round since a major advantage of having a yoke steering wheel is to have a better view of the instrument cluster.

The upcoming steering wheel may be the one that's featured in the new Tesla Semi photos.

Like the Model S, the touch-sensitive buttons wrap around the outside of the scroll wheels on the steering wheel.

On the left side, you have the turn signals and high beam buttons, while on the right you have buttons for the windshield wipers and voice commands. On the Model 3, clicking the right scroll wheel starts a voice command, but in the Model S that's used to engage Autopilot.

There is also a button for the horn, however, unlike earlier versions of the Model S, the center of the steering wheel also functions as a horn.

Other functions that were previously available on the steering wheel stalks, such as shifting gears are moved to the center touch screen. 

Since the buttons and their designs are fixed, you can't customize these buttons nor can Tesla change them through software updates.

I'd love to have seen tiny OLED screens for these buttons, similar to the Optimus keyboard that has a tiny screen for each key. That would leave room for customization or change down the road, although it would come at a cost and introduce additional complexity. Two things Tesla tries hard to reduce.

Sonder keyboard with OLED screens
Sonder keyboard with OLED screens

In the summer of 2021, Elon Musk said that auto shift was coming to all Tesla models, so Tesla may have been planning this change for a while now.

It's not clear whether existing vehicles with steering wheel stalks will also gain the ability to swipe to shift, but it's possible since Tesla could use the existing steering wheel stalks as a backup solution if the touch screen isn't working.

The backup solution in the Model S and likely future Model 3s and Model Ys are touch-sensitive gear buttons that appear underneath the wireless phone charger if the touch screen becomes unresponsive.

This upcoming change may be unexpected, but it's not surprising, as Tesla often tries to reduce costs by simplifying designs and processes. Tesla also tries to reuse as many parts throughout their models as possible. While the Model S and Model X use a different steering wheel, it looks like the Semi may utilize the same steering wheel as the Model 3 and Model Y.

Tesla internal email indicates major end-of-quarter push

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's Fremont lot is practically full
Tesla's Fremont lot is practically full
Met God in Wilderness/YouTube

Tesla wants everyone on its payroll to pitch in and help with a frantic end-of-quarter push. An internal email leaked to Electrek indicates that employees, even those not tasked with sales and delivery, to assist in getting as many vehicles out the door as possible. The email says there is “a very high volume of vehicles,” and management requests additional support.

This push should come as no surprise after a disappointing second quarter. The company delivered 18 percent fewer vehicles than in the previous reporting period. Tesla delivered 254,695 compared to 310,048 just three months prior. The decline broke a two-year streak in which the company continued to break its delivery record. The drop in numbers was not due to failures at Tesla, but due to COVID-related shutdowns at its Gigafactory in Shanghai, China.

Nevertheless, Tesla is adamant about righting the ship immediately. This quarter, like no other before, has seen significant competition enter the electric vehicle space and challenge the king of the sector. As a result, Tesla would like nothing more than to get back on track with another record-breaking delivery of its highly sought-after vehicles.

According to Electrek, the company-wide email stated: We will be delivering a very high volume of vehicles to eagerly waiting customers during the final days of Q3. To help ensure we can delight as many customers as possible, the delivery team is requesting additional support with key delivery-execution tasks.

For weeks Tesla’s careers page has listed dozens of Seasonal Advisor positions. The postings say these positions are “essential support at the end of the quarter, operating alongside our Sales and Delivery team to execute record-breaking delivery results.” The jobs were expected to last for two to three weeks.

Analysts predict that Tesla will get back on track and deliver more than 310,000 cars this quarter. In fact, one analyst has gone much further than that. Trip Chowdhry with Global Equities Research has publicly stated that he forecasts the carmaker will exceed 500,000 deliveries in the fourth quarter. In addition, he estimates that the time to produce a Tesla has decreased by 10 percent, and he notes other factors like the Semi coming online and increased capacity at factories worldwide.

Tesla is expected to report its quarterly earnings in mid-October.

Tesla is showing suggested destinations in update 2022.28.2

Future Feature
By Lennon Cihak
Suggested destinations in 2022.28.2
Suggested destinations in 2022.28.2
Not A Tesla App

Tesla's rolling out another unique feature with suggested destinations in version 2022.28.2. This comes off the heels of a previous announcement where Tesla was offering alternate routes.

Tesla's new suggested destinations show up under the Recents tab when you tap on the 'Navigate' button.

Tesla will list up to three destinations before displaying your recent destinations below them. Several owners have reported seeing this new feature in Tesla update 2022.28.2, but it's not clear whether it's available to everyone yet.

Tesla's suggestions appear to be a combination of recent destinations and favorites, but it's not clear exactly how Tesla is determining these.

A user by the name of Randall on the Tesla Discord noticed the new feature.

He was offered three suggestions, but after taking a short drive he noticed that the next set of suggestions was completely different.

Tesla may be using AI to determine your suggestions, so things like the number of times frequented, time of day, day of the week, the vehicle's location and more may be taken into account when Tesla is determining your suggestions.

Like everything Tesla, this is the first iteration of this feature and we're likely to see improvements on this feature in the near future.

For example, Randall noticed that although one of his suggestions was one of his favorites, the suggestion just showed the address of the destination and not the name Randall that given the destination.

The placement of suggested destinations could potentially be improved as well, instead of being displayed under Recents. Each of these suggestions likely has a probability score that Tesla determines and Tesla then displays any suggestions that are over a certain threshold.

It could be helpful if Tesla displayed suggestions directly in the middle of the screen when you first entered the car. If Tesla thought you were highly probable of visiting one of these suggestions they could display it more prominently, making it easier for you to enter the destination.

In recent updates, Tesla has focused quite heavily on navigation improvements. Alternate routes is a welcomed feature, as well as a quieter Joe Mode, and a revamped Energy App and time graph for Supercharger popularity. This suite of features is well overdue and much needed.

As the Austin-based automotive company continues to address various bugs and add features, owners are gaining more data for insight into their vehicle so they can better use it.

CEO Elon Musk has stated that any input into the vehicle should be considered (as a possible) error, so by adding yet another feature that the car tries to calculate your destination is a step in the right direction in Musk’s eyes. This is why there is no gear physical shifter in the refreshed Model S and Model X vehicles.

Instead, Tesla replaced them with an “Auto Shift” feature. This function works based on your vehicle’s understanding of which direction it needs to go. For example, if you’re in a grocery store parking lot, the car will see that it’s wedged between a few cars and know that it needs to reverse, or vice-versa. This feature is reportedly coming to all Teslas.

“I think generally, all input is error,” Musk explains at the unveiling of the Model S and Model X refresh. “If you have to do something that the car could’ve done already, that should be taken care of. The software should just do it.”

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Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.36.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.