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The rise in popularity of electric cars is a major challenge for AM radio. Unless an aggressive effort to save AM radio happens soon, EV automakers will remove AM radio from all new cars. Here’s what you need to know about why car manufacturers want to kill AM radio.
The Reason Why Electric Car Manufacturers Want to Kill AM Radio
Its collateral damage, but the EV revolution has the potential to kill AM radio. In an unfortunate coincidence, electric cars generate a similar wavelength to AM radio signals. This electromagnetic interference causes static and noise with AM radio reception. And without extra shielding, AM radio simply won’t work in electric vehicles.
Why Do Electric Cars Interfere With AM Radios?
Electric cars use electric motors to power their wheels. These motors generate electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) that can interfere with AM radio signals. The EMFs from EVs are comparable in wavelength to AM radio signals, and they can clash with these signals, effectively canceling the signals from AM radio. And as EV motors become more powerful, the amount of AM static tends to increase.
How Electric Car Manufacturers Want To “Fix” The AM Radio Problem
This AM interference issue isn’t a new problem with EVs. That’s why there’s no AM radio in Tesla vehicles. It’s not because Elon Musk hates the media, or anything like that. It’s because a Tesla AM radio won’t work in an EV. That’s why there’s no AM radio in Tesla cars.
In some cases, the cheapest way for car manufacturers to “fix” the AM interference problem is to remove the AM radio from the car altogether. Similar to Tesla, electric vehicles from BMW, Audi, Porsche, and Volvo have also decided to kill AM radio. A newer addition to that list is the 2024 Ford Mustang. In a statement, Ford stated that “countries and automakers globally are modernizing radio by offering internet streaming through mobile apps, FM, or digital.”
Ford later backtracked from that position and agreed to reconsider removing AM radio from future vehicles. In response, NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt issued the following statement.
“NAB commends Ford for committing to keep AM radio in their vehicles, which will keep Americans safe and informed, particularly in times of emergency. With tens of millions of listeners, AM radio continues to serve as a vital lifeline to the public and a critical source of community news and the exchange of diverse ideas.”Curtis LeGeyt, NAB President and CEO
How To Reduce AM Radio Interference From EVs?
The companies manufacturing electric cars are pioneers and innovators in the auto industry. Using state-of-the-art AI technology, some EVs can even drive themselves. So is it beyond humanity’s collective capabilities to create an electric car with a working AM radio? Absolutely not.
There are a few things that can be done to reduce the amount of EMF interference from EVs. One is to design EVs with shielding that can block EMFs. Like an electromagnetic frequency condom, this shielding can provide a protective barrier preventing EMFs from interfering with AM radio reception. Another option is to use different materials in the construction of electric vehicles that do not generate as much EMF interference. It is also important to note that not all EVs generate the same amount of EMF interference. Some EVs, such as Teslas, generate more EMF interference than others.
However, adding more protective measures or using different materials in the manufacturing process of electric cars is costly and challenging for carmakers. It’s unlikely they’d commit to saving AM radio without a mandate from the U.S. government. At the end of the day, it’s just a financial decision for these companies.
Can AM Radio Survive The EV Car Revolution?
The AM radio has a lot of challenges right now. EVs is just its latest problem. When will AM radio be switched off in your car? It may just be a matter of time. As electric cars become more popular, more automakers will consider removing AM radios from their cars. And if enough AM radio fans don’t speak up, or government groups get involved, many AM radio stations will gradually lose listeners. Unless these broadcasters shift strategies, they might even have to shut down.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.