On June 20, it was reported on the Internet that all vehicles with half-frame steering wheels, regardless of brands, had been suspended from licensing due to safety risks.
A car blogger revealed that the mechanical connection between the steering gear and the steering column was removed, and the steering wheel was connected to the front wheel through wires and electronic systems, which posed high safety requirements. If regulation starts to pay more attention to safety, the progress of many things is expected to be delayed. However, the blogger quickly modified Weibo, saying: "Zhiji's friends say they have resumed listing, this is purely about line-controlled steering, Zhiji lying gun."
So far, only the new Tesla Model Spicer X, Lexus RZ and Zhiji LS7 are equipped with a half-frame steering wheel, of which Zhiji LS7 is the only domestic model.
In response to the "suspension of licensing of half-steering wheel models", Tesla and Zhiji car sales told Interface News: "the policy has not changed and there is no feedback from customers who buy square steering wheel models that they cannot be licensed." Zhiji exhibition hall sales staff said that Zhiji LS7 with square steering wheel sold very well, and most of the customers since May have basically chosen to buy LS7, all of which can be listed normally. In addition, after seeing the above rumors, the store also confirmed that there was no change in the licensing process and policy. Insiders of Tesla said that at present, they have not received any notification that the square steering wheel cannot be licensed normally, and a number of local testing factories in charge of licensing business in Beijing have also made it clear that they have not received similar notices. As long as the new cars that meet the relevant regulations can be licensed normally. In addition, Chengdu DMV staff also told the relevant media: "at present, no business has been stopped."
In fact, as early as May this year, there were rumors in the market that "half-wheel may not be allowed to be announced next", but the news has not been officially confirmed.
So what is a "half steering wheel"? As the name implies, the half-amplitude steering wheel, also known as the square steering wheel or special-shaped steering wheel, usually shows the shape of "up and down flat, close to quadrilateral", and some car owners describe it as "half of the round steering wheel has been cut off". In the application scene, the half-amplitude steering wheel is widely used in professional track racing, such as Formula one racing. Starting from 2021, Tesla released the Yoke steering wheel (also known as the square steering wheel) and applied it to two overseas Tesla Model S and Model X models, from which the half-amplitude steering wheel began to enter the passenger car market. Since then, models including the Lexus RZ have also been equipped with this type of special-shaped steering wheel.
In the domestic market, only Tesla Model S and Model X and Zhiji LS7 are on sale with a square steering wheel. Not long ago, the new Tesla Model S and Model X are listed in China. The default steering wheel of the two models is the standard steering wheel, while the optional Yoke steering wheel costs 2000 yuan.
Prior to this, in February this year, Zhiji launched its first medium-and large-scale luxury SUV-- Zhiji LS7 model, which also carries a half-frame steering wheel design. Before the listing of LS7, Zhiji CEO Liu Tao explained why he used half a steering wheel, saying that the steering wheel was equipped with this shape to broaden the driver's horizons and to subtract the complicated steering wheel in the age of simple technology.
Anyone who has driven a car knows that once the steering wheel turns half a circle, the hands have to be out of the original position, and then the steering wheel may stop at any corner, as long as the maximum angle from the center to one side exceeds 180 °. The flange must be a complete ring to meet the above requirements.
Compared with the traditional steering wheel, on the track, the half-amplitude steering wheel can provide drivers with more legroom and a wider field of vision, making the driver more comfortable under long and intense driving, but it is completely different on the general road. due to the lack of the upper half of the half-amplitude steering wheel, the driver needs to keep his hands in the position of three or nine o'clock and can not "swing the plate." In the face of emergency road conditions on the road, without the upper part of the amplitude of the half-amplitude steering wheel, it is difficult to achieve large-angle steering.
Professionals believe that the half-amplitude steering wheel has a sense of the future and technology because of its unique shape, and it is not difficult to use, but compared with the traditional steering wheel, the half-amplitude steering wheel is inconvenient to operate and has certain safety risks. Especially when moving at low speed, backing into the garage and turning frequently, grasping the square steering wheel with fewer points will inevitably bring trouble to the driver, and when the vehicle needs to make a big turn. The traditional movement of crossing hands and taking turns on the steering wheel is also difficult to achieve. In addition, the half-amplitude steering wheel cancels the mechanical connection between the steering gear and the steering column, and directly adopts the wire control system connected to the front wheel through the wire and electronic system, which also puts forward higher requirements for the safety and reliability of the system. Therefore, the hidden danger of half-amplitude steering wheel has been questioned by the market.
At the launch of the new Model S with a square steering wheel, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discussed with Tesla whether the steering wheel complies with relevant safety standards. "it is not possible to determine whether the steering wheel meets federal vehicle safety standards," NHTSA said. If Tesla violates the rules, then the steering wheel will be removed. " However, when interacting with netizens, Tesla CEO Musk said: "the round steering wheel is boring and blocking the dashboard, while the Yoke steering wheel can make the visual experience much more comfortable when the vehicle turns on the FSD."
Up to now, the existing laws and regulations do not standardize the definition of the half-amplitude steering wheel, and whether there are inevitable safety risks has not been officially explained.
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