They’re designed for small race cars with fast steering ratios that never have to make small, tight turns like a U-turn or a parking maneuver. If you almost never need to turn the wheel more than 90 degrees, you don’t need the top and bottom of the wheel. That’s not the case on a daily driven street car.
Even the professional race car driver who reviewed the car insisted that the Yoke be switched back to a normal wheel so he could actually drive it properly on track.
This feels like the industrial design team fell in love with the looks and marketing aspects of the yoke wheel and ignored the total lack of practicality.
Normal people doing normal driving want to grab the top, bottom, etc. depending on what's most comfortable and natural in the moment.
Oh wait, nobody does that anyway
Now what I think is that Elon may not have listened to his engineers, but at least he's really good at listening to sales numbers.
While I admire Tesla's commitment to bucking constraints, I am reminded of that Choose Boring Technology presentation: http://boringtechnology.club/.
Do recognize that most of the people "panning" these things aren't the target market anyway. The cars remain sold out for six months. Tesla seems to be doing fine, gimmicks or no. They don't hit with every swing, but they're batting well enough.
And while I don't know that I would have chosen one personally, I've watched the videos and... is this really so bad? It looks fine. As a reasonably new Tesla driver, compared to getting used to the "single pedal driving" paradigm this seems like no big deal to me.
I do get a sense though that Tesla suffers from chasing down too many gimmicky ideas: giant central consoles, their weird HVAC tech, gullwing doors, Cybertruck, some really bad manufacturing concepts.
Like I said, they don't hit it out of the park on every swing, but they're still the best slugger in the game. And frankly it isn't even close.
 Which despite what all the haters say is still trivially the most capable autonomy system available to the consumer anywhere, with no competitors even close. Yeah, yeah, type all you want but this thing is fun as hell and I was happy to pay $10k to be part of the original generation of these things.
Circular steering wheels are popular for the same reason rockets are long and tall or boats are shaped like... boats.
Musk tweeting "Will aim for that in a few years." translates to maybe a 10% chance of it ever happening. See the list here: elonsbrokenpromises.com
Edit: According to Wikipedia they've done so since the 2003 model 5-series already and this has a description on how it's done: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_steering
Variable ratio steering also means configurable steering ratio. So a very quick turn at parking speed and in reverse while you can select the perfect ratio for handling at higher speeds.
No, it doesn't if you do it the typical way with a rack or steering gear that has teeth of inconsistent spacing (and some tricky geometry to make that not destroy itself).
The teeth are cut how they are cut and there is no changing that without swapping parts.
I much prefer the turn signals in a fixed location that is mind mapped so I never have to guess their relative position.
The wheel not only has less physical room for the drivers to place their hands, it also presents one missing side and a constantly changing grip angle depending on the position of the wheel, requiring a lot of shuffling of hand.
In Europe there's also no prescription for the shape of the steering wheel so one could sell a car with a trackpad for steering.
Active headlights have not been whitelisted. (And boy is the NHTSA taking its sweat time doing that!)
If it looks stupid and it doesn't work, it's stupid.
Even the main three roads between the capitol (Oslo) and the second largest city (Bergen). Has parts that will give Lombard street a run for it's money.
I would love to see a Tesla with the yoke try to do Trollstigen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trollstigen), that I'm sure would be hilarious.
So is the new Lotus Evija 
Its a solution to a non-existent problem - you can see the instrument cluster through the gap between the hub and upper rim of the wheel and tilt adjustment caters for different height people.
That said, as a Model Y owner: this wheel wouldn't have been my choice. Seems like the only real advantage is somewhat better visibility to the stuff on the dash and the driver screen (which the Y doesn't even have). We'll see if it catches on, if not they'll probably just back it out and offer a wheel as a service upgrade or something.
It's not that they don't make mistakes (the Model X and its doors were not great), but I don't trust the press on anything Tesla related - even less so now that they view Musk as a political enemy.
Remember the Model S on the pickup truck because the NYT writer drove around in circles intentionally to kill it and then lied about it for the story? When everyone is driving EVs within the next ten years it'll be even more obvious than today how fabricated that was.
People still complain about Tesla's far superior (imo) UI/software interface, despite its market success. Reviews are not a great indicator of general sentiment or truth.
In the end, the 3 and Y are gaining market share quickly, and those concerns did not spell the demise of the vehicle.
This seems like a similar design choice, different in more ways than just visual impact. I expect there will be the same two camps: Those who own the car and say it's easy to get used to, and, those who don't own the car and can't imagine why anyone would choose a yoke.
In my view, ok, it's different, but I'm going to withhold judgement until I've put a few hundred miles on one.
BTW, I am sure that part of Tesla's thinking is going to be that they expect humans to steer the car much less over the coming decade. Their goal has been to make the steering wheel superfluous for quite some time.