Back when Tesla introduced the fact that the refreshed Model S and Model X would not have a stalk for changing between drive, reverse, neutral, and park (a “DRNP stalk”), some of us freaked out. “But how will your car know what to do?” … “It’ll be so annoying pressing D, R, N, or P on the touchscreen!” That’s what the naysayers said. And, frankly, I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of the idea on the surface. I’m concerned that the car would not have the right idea of which direction to go in, and that once you get used to not using the stalk, you won’t pay attention and notice which direction the car wants to go in. On the other hand, if you’re paying attention every time, that seems like more mental work than instinctively using the stalk and relying on muscle memory. BUT … this change is already in play for thousands of Tesla Model S and X drivers and I haven’t seen any complaints, so I assume my concerns are little more than fear of change.
When Tesla Technoking Elon Musk announced the removal of the DRNP stalk in the middle of 2021, he added that the stalk would eventually be removed from the Model Y and Model 3 as well. It seems logical: try out the new tech on limited production models and then, if things are going well and any potential bugs have been worked out, roll it out to mass-market models (the Model Y and Model 3).
Rumor has it that the Model Y and Model 3 will soon be adopting the change. The rumor comes from a Chris Zheng.
The 2023 Model 3/Y will also remove the left and right paddles, sliding gearshift, and touch turn signals. pic.twitter.com/WDCqcRccu2
— Chris Zheng (@ChrisZheng001) August 29, 2022
The site not a tesla app writes that Chris “has ties with the Tesla supply chain in China.” I’m not familiar with Chris Zheng or how reliable he is, so I can’t say with confidence that this is a leak, rather than simply a rumor, but we should all find out soon enough.
Notably, there’s more on the DRNP stalk than DRNP. There are also ways to turn on the windshield wipers, Autopilot, and the car’s high-beam lights. Scroll wheels and buttons on the steering wheel will reportedly fulfill those needs. Again. I’m a little skeptical that I’d like this or feel as comfortable with it as using the stalks. Though, I could also imagine the method being easier once I got the habits down as long as I didn’t get confused. One potential problem with that, though, is for things I don’t do much (turn on high beams or windshield wipers, for example). I might find it hard to remember the new system.
Am I worrying too much? Do you think removing the stalks will scare some buyers away? Will all cars remove the stalks in the coming years? What do you all think of these potential changes?
Also, why is Tesla making this change? As far as I can tell, there are two main reasons. One is that removing them may lower costs, allowing Tesla to offer its vehicles at a lower price and/or make higher gross margins. Another potential reason for this change is just that it provides a cleaner look inside the car, removing “clutter.” This has always been something Elon liked to do, and many Tesla buyers (myself included) greatly appreciate that and love the clean, minimalist design of a Tesla. In time, Elon’s goal is also to make Tesla vehicles robotaxis. If they can achieve that, then what would be the purpose of a steering wheel at all? This is a step in that direction.
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