Over the past several years there has been a growing concern about excluding AM receivers from electric vehicles. For example, Ford and Tesla are apparently planning to drop AM receivers from new EV models.
Senator Ed Markey (D MA) has raised this issue with automakers in a recent letter. He noted:
“Despite innovations such as the smartphone and social media, AM/FM broadcast radio remains the most dependable, cost-free, and accessible communication mechanism for public officials to communicate with the public during times of emergency. As a result, any phase-out of broadcast AM radio could pose a significant communication problem during emergencies,” Senator Markey wrote.
"Although the auto industry’s investments in electric vehicles are critical to addressing the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, automakers need not sacrifice the benefits of radio in the process.”
Senator Markey asked specific questions regarding automakers’ plans to include AM receivers in EVs. The letter was sent to BMW, Ford General Motors, Honda Motor, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Lucid, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Polestar, Rivian, Stellantis, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo. We expect to receive the answers shortly.
Recently, FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington supported a letter written by former FEMA officials that was sent to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. The letter urged the Department of Transportation to keep AM receives in Electric vehicles. Commissioner Simington approved the letter stating:
“I applaud the statement by FEMA leaders on the importance of AM radio for disaster response. As the FCC shares authority with FEMA for many aspects of our national emergency alerting systems, I underscore and affirm their concerns in the strongest possible terms. The issue of the continued inclusion of AM radios in electric vehicles deserves urgent attention.”
We could not agree more. AM radio serves as the backbone for news and information in this country. Whether in rural areas or communities in New York City, AM radio is an essential communication source. The purported interference issues in EVs can be fixed. Going “green” should not be losing this important service.
You can see Senator Markey’s letter to automakers here.
FCC Commissioner Simington’s press release supporting AM radio can be accessed here.