• Lexus confirmed a yoke-style steering wheel on the debut of its first EV, the RZ450e, however this steering system has but to make it into manufacturing.
  • We drove a considerably retuned model at an occasion Lexus held at Fuji Speedway and nonetheless suppose its low-speed response is just a little too keen.
  • The corporate plans to finish growth of this steer-by-wire system subsequent 12 months.

Not lengthy after Tesla put a yoke steering wheel within the Mannequin S and X in 2021, Lexus confirmed one within the debut of its first EV, the RZ450e. However the RZ has been on sale for a 12 months or so now, and but there’s nonetheless no signal of the yoke.

It seems the corporate is not but happy with the tuning of this very completely different steering setup. That is noteworthy as a result of Lexus really made adjustments to make the yoke work, corresponding to limiting steering journey to eradicate hand-over-hand maneuvers, versus Tesla’s method which did not embody any adjustments to the underlying steering {hardware}.

Once we first skilled it in a RZ prototype, we discovered the low-speed tuning particularly troublesome to acclimate to. That was properly over a 12 months in the past, and Lexus engineers have since retuned the steer by wire considerably. The most recent model lets the steering wheel flip just a little additional, too—200 levels in every path, slightly than 150 levels initially. We drove the most recent setup at a Lexus occasion held at Fuji Speedway.

The yoke itself is a high-quality piece, and it seems to share nothing with its spherical forebear. Its wiper and turn-signal stalks and paddles are far stubbier, and there are adjustment knobs for quantity, lights, and wiper settings on the entrance of the yoke, every with glorious haptic really feel. To allow not having a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the entrance tires, the RZ has various redundancies in place: for instance, an additional battery beneath the middle console ensures that the steering system maintains energy even when the first battery goes flat.

lexus rz450e yoke steering wheel


Turning to its new 200-degree restrict can nonetheless be completed whereas retaining each fingers on the yoke. And as soon as as much as even modest speeds, we discovered the extremely variable ratio of the steer-by-wire system pure and straightforward to acclimate to. Extreme low-speed maneuvers are made simpler by not having to show the wheel almost as far. However, when attempting to make small corrections at very low speeds—corresponding to whereas rolling via a car parking zone at 5 to 10 mph—the entrance tires reply too eagerly. Once we gave this suggestions to the engineer driving shotgun, it gave the impression of he already agreed.

When requested about timing, Lexus engineers instructed us that they hope to finish growth someday subsequent 12 months. Presumably, the yoke will go into manufacturing shortly after, though the corporate says there’s no set timeline for manufacturing in the meanwhile. Nonetheless, Lexus says the yoke shall be headed to different fashions sooner or later, though it gained’t say which of them.

Headshot of Dave VanderWerp

Director, Automobile Testing

Dave VanderWerp has spent greater than 20 years within the automotive trade, in assorted roles from engineering to product consulting, and now main Automotive and Driver‘s vehicle-testing efforts. Dave obtained his very fortunate begin at C/D by taking place to submit an unsolicited resume at simply the precise time to land a part-time street warrior job when he was a pupil on the College of Michigan, the place he instantly turned enthralled with the world of automotive journalism.



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