AM radio lives on! Ford CEO Jim Farley revealed the automaker would include AM broadcast capability for all Ford EVs on Tuesday.
Ford restores AM radio for EV owners
After several automakers, including Ford, Tesla, Volkswagen, Volvo, Polestar, and others, began passing on AM radio, it sparked a heated debate.
Although you may not use AM radio much (or at all), it does serve a purpose. During the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, AM radio is one way the government communicates with the public.
Automakers have argued that electric motors interfere with the signal resulting in irritating noises. Meanwhile, many drivers have access to AM radio through apps on their smartphones, according to these companies.
The move has sparked a debate, with several lawmakers asking automakers to keep AM radio access in new vehicles.
“After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of the radio broadcast as part of an emergency alert system,” Farley said on his Twitter, “we’ve decided to include it on all 2024 Ford & Lincoln vehicles.”
Farley added, “For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software update.”
The move comes after a group of lawmakers introduced a new bill last week aimed at preserving AM broadcast radio by banning automakers from eliminating it in new vehicles.
Ed Markey, US Senator from Massachusetts, said, “Carmakers shouldn’t tune out AM radio in new vehicles or put it behind a costly digital paywall,” citing its importance in delivering critical public safety information during an emergency.
The legislation, if passed, would require automakers to include it in all new models without an additional fee. In addition, companies that sold vehicles without AM radios would need to inform buyers.
Ford removed the radio broadcast from its 2023 Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning models after data showed less than 5% of customers listened to it, according to AP news. Ford and other carmakers have suggested internet radio and other tools could replace AM radio, but others question the tech if internet access is needed.
Existing Ford EV owners will receive AM radio access through a software update while the company plans to include it in all newly built 2024 models.