Steering Wheel or Yoke Turns Lock-to-Lock

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Steering Wheel or Yoke Turns Lock-to-Lock

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Steering Wheel or Yoke Turns Lock-to-Lock

  • Steering Wheel or Yoke Turns Lock-to-Lock

     Ray Holan updated 1 month, 1 week ago 12 Members · 28 Posts
  • Ray Holan

    Member
    October 24, 2021 at 8:05 am

    I know the Aptera suspension is a work in progress and that Roush Engineering is consulting with Aptera on it. Anyone know what is the current or the target turns lock-to-lock figure?

    I’m not a big fan of the yoke design, but if the steering geometry is set up with something like <3 turns lock-to-lock (i.e. “quick” steering ratio) then I think I can live with it. That would mean I won’t have to do the hand over hand maneuver more than once to go from all the way left to all the way right — easy with a circular steering wheel, awkward with a yoke design as has been illustrated in the Aptera videos of the alpha. My worry is that in an emergency (e.g. someone cuts me off or a dog runs out in front of the vehicle) I might get my hands tangled up or miss grabbing one of the uneven surfaces of a yoke type steering wheel.

  • Joshua Rosen

    Member
    October 24, 2021 at 8:11 am

    There is nothing to like about a yoke, there is no reason to even consider it. Tesla’s yoke is particularly bad because they replaced all of the stalks with buttons on the wheel. How do you signal a turn when the wheel is upside down because you are turning? Yokes are for airplanes not cars.

  • Scott Price

    Member
    October 24, 2021 at 8:43 am

    I agree with the concerns on yokes. It is interesting to read reviews of Tesla yoke steering by Motor Trend, Consumer Reports, etc. All are mostly negative, except that the yoke increases dashboard visibility. However, in the Aptera, there is no dashboard above the steering wheel and it is all off to the right/center of the vehicle. So, it’s one main potential advantage is irrelevant except perhaps some minor field of view enhancement over the lower front nose of the car for shorter drivers.

    However, one significant difference from the Tesla, aircraft, and other true yokes, is that the Aptera steering wheel is not actually a full yoke design. It is more of a “squished circle” to create a rounded rectangular full 360 degree steering wheel. So, you still get most of the benefits of a tried and true round steering wheel, although there is the downside that you have to actively adjust your hand positioning more consciously when doing large turn motions as compared to a round wheel.

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      October 24, 2021 at 9:13 am

      Scott, I suspect the rounded rectangle as you pointed out is a nod to design. It seems to widen the dashboard visually as opposed to a traditional round steering wheel. Perhaps a circular wheel with a flat bottom would be a reasonable comprise between emergency maneuver usability and aesthetics. The turn signal on stalks or not is another matter. I get that it would look cool to not have stalks, but buttons on the steering wheel to signal turns would take some getting used to and would need to work even if the driver were wearing gloves in the winter.

  • George Hughes

    Member
    October 24, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Previous posters have missed one ‘advantage’ of a yoke steering wheel design and that is the necessity of its replacement with a more practical custom steering wheel from the aftermarket.

    I think this marketing gimmick is part of what drove the choice on the Plaid. See, by putting the yoke steering wheel only in the plaid, those posers with a standard tesla, can gain street cred by putting a yoke on their rig kind of like folks with 283 cu Impalas would badge their two-barreled barge with a gaudy 396 badge.

    • Joshua Rosen

      Member
      October 24, 2021 at 1:03 pm

      Unfortunately it wasn’t just the Plaid that they did this to, the Model S LR and the Model X also got the yoke. The Plaid is a dedicated dragster so you can see why the yoke might be acceptable in that application. But for street use the yoke is a terrible choice, parking becomes a real chore and the lack of stalks for the turn signals are a serious safety hazard. The yoke is also awful for road racing, both Randy Pobst and Blake Fuller yanked them off of their cars and replaced them with Model 3 wheels for the Pikes Peak and Mount Washington hill climbs.

      An aftermarket wheel could fix the problem with the shape of the wheel but do you know if any of them add back the stalks?

      • George Hughes

        Member
        October 24, 2021 at 7:51 pm

        I hope the Aptera retains the traditional circular steering wheel.

        While I respect the ability of the Tesla brand to influence style; I know that the notion of following them on this style is a forced choice. You can see that being Tesla’s effort on the steering yoke being made standard on the most upscale of their offerings. At least a part of that was to counter tradition to stand out. Challenging the established approach is like a lot of what Tesla is about, but don’t count me among those who think that Tesla is always right.

        I do understand the ‘right to repair’ principle, which includes the right to improve, seriously and so if I find an equally doltish choice of a yoke over a proper steering wheel on the Aptera, I’ll change it.

        The challenge with right to repair on the new generation(s) of cars going forward is they’re digital instruments that define operations with code instead of the traditional construct of mechanical operations.

  • John Malcom

    Member
    October 24, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Over sensitivity here I think. I have flown airplanes of all kinds with yokes without any problem. Oh, apples and oranges you say. Yep right.

    But if we had all started driving cars with yokes from the beginning, and some nut put a wheel in a care for steering, and tried to sell it to us, we would be up in arms.

    The Aptera will come with a yokish wheel. If it is show stopper you can either not buy it, replace the yoke with a wheel (Yuck), or learn to drive with the yoke. I have no problem with the latter choice.

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      October 25, 2021 at 5:46 am

      I respectfully disagree with you on this one, John.

      To me, the yoke steering wheel question is not merely a question of style, or what we’ve gotten used to, but usability — especially in an emergency maneuver.

      Does the yoke look good in the Aptera? Yes.

      Is it usable in ordinary driving? Yes.

      It’s the kind of emergency maneuver that calls for hand-over-hand that concerns me and the possibility of my hand missing the surface of the yoke as the “target” surface changes in rotation. Flying a Cessna 172 is one thing. Driving a car on city streets another. I live in a neighborhood with many children who tend to chase their soccer balls or what-not’s into the street without checking for oncoming traffic so this is on my radar.

      The yoke or steering wheel choice harks back to the question of “how many turns lock-to-lock” in my original post. If the steering ratio is quick, a quarter or half turn of the wheel or yoke gets me out of trouble (no hand-over-hand motion needed). If the ratio is slow, more turning is required for the same amount of course change. My Lotus Elan set the benchmark for quick steering.

      I would welcome a reference to a scientific study or SAE paper evaluating traditional steering wheel vs. yoke in situations that require a quick course change. I realize that the majority of “think fast” situations can be handled without taking my hands off the wheel or off the yoke even if the steering ratio slow (i.e. larger number of turns lock-to-lock). Again, my concern is the hand-over-hand situation when I need to do that. I realize this is only a once in a great while situation, but it is still a concern for me. Scientific or subjective thoughts on that?

      • John Malcom

        Member
        October 26, 2021 at 9:35 am

        Ray, probably way too early for objective studies to be available to address the issue so only our subjective views without driving experience with yoke or yoke like steering interfaces. So any view is unsubstantiated supposition to include mine. Perhaps in the next few years data may be available from the Tesla yoke experience to indicate statistically if it is a safety issue.

        I will repeat my thoughts in my last post. If your concern about the safety of the Aptera steering interface is high don’t buy it, replace it with something else, or learn to drive confidently with it. A solution that does not require a lot of analytical data. Assuming you will test drive before you actually purchase you will know if the “Feel” will be OK at that point.

        Oh just thought of another one from my childhood. Buy and install a squirrel knob. I guess called spinning knobs now days.

        Yokes in Teslas hasn’t seemed to slow their sales, but we will see in a few years when there is or is not data.

        • Ray Holan

          Member
          October 26, 2021 at 1:33 pm

          We called the “squirrel knob” a “suicide knob” in my part of the country . Not sure how that got started!

          In the absence of objective studies I’ll probably roll the dice as you suggest and trust I’ll get used to the rounded rectangle shape of the steering wheel that we’ve seen on the prototypes thus far. As you say, I can always replace with something else if really necessary.

          • Scott Price

            Member
            October 26, 2021 at 5:56 pm

            Ray, keep in mind that the specific mechanical interface, horn, and controls embedded in the current design’s cross-member mean that it would be unlikely to easily just plug and play any ol’ round steering wheel from somewhere else. 🙂 Far more likely that you will need to get accustomed to the steering wheel shape, unless Aptera offers an add-on option later or both demand plus volume becomes big enough for an aftermarket supplier to later get interested in creating a specialized solution.

            • Ray Holan

              Member
              October 30, 2021 at 5:41 am

              Point taken, Scott. I am planning to adjust to whatever OEM steering wheel is installed. I have a long history or substituting components that weren’t offered by the factory in cars I’ve owned — with uneven results. Not inclined to yank out theirs to put in mine. That said, I totally support the right-to-repair philosophy to which Aptera is committed. We have a long history of hot-rodding cars in this country. Ironically, Southern California is ground zero for that. SoCal Speed Shop anyone?

      • John Malcom

        Member
        October 26, 2021 at 9:57 am

        Here is something to consider. I am left handed. I am more of a safety risk on the road than the shape of the steering interface.

        https://carfromjapan.com/article/driving-tips/are-left-handed-drivers-more-of-a-danger-on-the-road/

    • George Hughes

      Member
      October 25, 2021 at 10:50 pm

      It is not sensitivity; and it is not even ‘yoke’ vs ‘circular wheel’ vs. yoke like. (The steering wheel on the Alpha’s appears yoke-like but remains a full ‘wheel.’ )

      Tooling around on the highway or along most any extended straight-away, I have been known to plop my right hand at 12-oclock and my left, out the window. In the old days, I had a butt in the left-hand but even today, I’ve been known to vape or even drink with either the 12’oclock or 6’oclock position with either my left or right hand.

      You can call me unwoke or whatever – don’t care. What I do know is that by removing the top and bottom of the steering wheel as in a pure yoke limits one-arm driving to a maximum of two positions – either 3’oclock or 9’oclock whereas a full steering wheel gives one the option of six positions for one-armed driving.

      If you think the yoke is the be-all/end-all, let me suggest that the yoke be an aftermarket option as you are welcome to limit your hand positions to only 3 and 9 o’clock.

      PS: The ‘yoke-like’ wheel, that does span the top and bottom is basically fine. Hell, the ’57 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser my dad had back in the day had a flattened top reminiscent of a yoke as the design style of that age was tail-fins and jet-like designs to elicit ‘modern aerospace’ details. I know my dad would have preferred the factory air work better without freezing up, though.

      • Ray Holan

        Member
        October 26, 2021 at 5:13 am

        George, you’re right to point out the hand position limitation or freedom provided by the steering wheel, yoke-like wheel, or yoke. Thanks for the clarification of “yoke like” vs. “yoke”.

  • John Trotter

    Member
    October 25, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Ray, good question for discussion, but are there really two questions here that have become conflated? Yoke-vs-wheel will dominate any related discussion, but I am interested in learning about lock-to-lock, no matter the “hand interface”. It seems to me that drive-by-wire and torque vectoring could implement steering in a way completely unlike tradition. (ex: speed dependent lock-to-lock) Should it? Unfortunately, Aptera is too small to do proper research, unless someone can find public domain info. BTW, with a clean sheet of paper, and power steering, how is lock-to-lock chosen? Ideas?

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      October 25, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Good point, John. Yes, the two questions have become intertwined. Guess that often happens with forum discussions. Hard to stay on one question.

  • William Beal

    Member
    October 26, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    Excellent question. I don’t think the semi-yoke would bother me if it’s an active steering system. It’ll take a little getting used to but I think driving this vehicle in general might take a little getting used to. I anticipate enjoying that learning experience.

  • Llewellyn Evans

    Member
    October 26, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    I did a google search for F1 steering wheel shapes. All the old ones were round, all the new ones are yokes with paddles on the back and buttons on the front.

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      October 27, 2021 at 6:31 am

      Wonder how many turns lock-to-lock Lewis Hamilton has to contend with? Hmm.

    • Llewellyn Evans

      Member
      October 29, 2021 at 7:28 pm

      Looks like over 360 degrees. Arms fully crossed at full lock.

  • John Trotter

    Member
    October 29, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Toyota just announced a future BEV with Yoke steering as an option. That option would have 150 degrees lock-to-lock to avoid the hand-over-hand maneuver.

  • Pistonboy Delux

    Member
    October 29, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    The steering column, stalk controls, and dash all appear to come from Tesla which own the patents on these designs. I suspect the steering wheel design was part of a package deal if Aptera wanted to use them.

    I would like to hear if there will be an air bag in the steering wheel. Does anyone remember the talk of having the air bag in the seat belt and not the steering wheel?

    • Curtis Cibinel

      Member
      October 29, 2021 at 6:45 pm

      Until they actually publicly state in of be more inclined to think the wheel is just sharing similar design elements. Other vehicles use similar display setups. Not sure about the control wheels. Tesla has stated their patents would be open. An agreement to share the plug /charge network has been hinted heavily but is also unconfirmed.

      • Pistonboy Delux

        Member
        October 29, 2021 at 8:11 pm

        You said something interesting. You mentioned Tesla stating their patents would be open. This is true. I believe Tesla’s requirement is that other companies must also share their patents. Since Aptera is a startup with no patents, they may have entered into this agreement. They have a lot to gain and nothing to loose. Existing car companies have many patents and would not want others to use them.

        Wow. If all these things are correct, Aptera would have a lot to gain!

        • Curtis Cibinel

          Member
          October 29, 2021 at 9:41 pm

          No idea if that is Aptera’s intent. The co-ceos did need the original ip to restart Aptera so they would be giving up some important ip. This unfortunately highlights flaws in copyright that allows for patents to bury tech not being used.

          The unfortunate reality is that if Aptera is successful they will never manage to enter the Chinese market as plenty of time for impersonators before they can import into that market (scaling takes time) .

  • Charles Kaneb

    Member
    October 29, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    Aptera, if you’re looking – I’ve taught several engineering students how to develop steering systems and I think I’ve got a good idea of what would work well for manual or power-assisted steering on this car.

    I recommend a round steering wheel. It allows a variety of driving positions.

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