Proper driver positioning is essential for comfort and control in any vehicle. The tilt steering feature enables electric vehicle (EV) drivers to tailor the steering wheel location to their physical proportions and preferences. In this guide, we’ll cover the benefits of tilt steering for EVs, how to adjust it correctly, and future tilt steering innovations.
Tilt steering refers to the ability to pivot the steering wheel up or down while keeping the steering column stationary. It provides a range of angle adjustments to accommodate drivers of varying heights.
Tilt steering differs from telescoping steering which allows linear adjustment of the entire steering column and wheel in and out. Vehicles can have tilt-only, telescoping-only, or both functions for maximum positioning flexibility.
Tilt steering affords several important advantages tailored to the unique ergonomics of electric vehicles:
EV battery packaging often raises seat height compared to gas vehicles. Tilt adjustments suit both taller and shorter drivers.
Tilting the wheel down opens forward sightlines for taller drivers without sacrificing instrument view. Angling up does the reverse for shorter drivers.
Finding the right tilt angle reduces arm, shoulder, and neck strain from poor wheel positioning. Comfort enhances control.
Heavier EV batteries shift weight balance rearward. Tilt steering counteracts this by moving the wheel closer to drivers.
Tilting the wheel fully up maximizes clearance for easy driver entry and exit. This is especially important in low-slung EVs.
Follow these tips for optimizing tilt steering position in your electric vehicle:
Before adjustment, sit in the normal driving position with back against seat and feet on pedals. This establishes the baseline.
Ideally, the wheel center should be aligned close to the driver’s chest, around 25-30 cm away. Avoid neck or head alignment.
With hands on the wheel, ensure a light 9 and 3 o’clock grip without fully locking elbows. Arms should bend slightly.
Tilt the wheel down just enough to see all critical road and traffic elements without major head tilting.
Tilting up should let drivers simply glance down at instrument gauges without excessive lowering of the head.
If tilting the wheel extremely close, disable front airbags which could cause injury when firing.
Make sure seat belts still cross the collar bone and sit low on the hips after tilt adjustments.
Electric vehicles leverage various tilt steering systems and designs:
Automakers are exploring innovative new approaches to tilt steering in forthcoming EVs:
Cameras and facial recognition could automatically tilt the wheel based on driver height and position.
Scanning hand shapes could instantly adjust tilt and telescoping to match the driver’s proportions.
Onboard AI may learn drivers’ tilt preferences in certain conditions, then automatically apply them.
Tactile touch points could enable tilt adjustments via finger motions for minimal distraction.
Tilt could automatically pivot during maneuvers using gyroscope data for optimal positioning.
Tilt angles could sync with real-time ride height changes, especially in EVs with adjustable air suspension.
Tilt steering enables electric vehicle drivers to enjoy a safer, more comfortable experience by optimizing wheel positioning. Simple tilt mechanisms continue providing valuable ergonomic and visibility benefits even as EV cockpits evolve. The flexibility of tilt adjustments will only increase through human-centered design innovations. As exciting as electric vehicle performance gains are, tilt steering reminds us that driver comfort endures as a critical priority.