There was a time when an AM receiver was standard, and FM was an optional upgrade. Now, eight automakers have removed AM receivers from their EV models.  -  Photo: Canva

There was a time when an AM receiver was standard, and FM was an optional upgrade. Now, eight automakers have removed AM receivers from their EV models.

Photo: Canva

Ford is not scrapping AM radio its new and updated light-duty models after all, according to an announcement posted to Twitter on May 23 by Ford CEO Jim Farley.

“After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as a part of the emergency alert system, we've decided to include it on all @Ford & @LincolnMotorCo vehicles. For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software update.”

In February, Ford said it was dropping AM receivers from the Ford F-150 Lightning, according to a statement to the Detroit Free Press. Some automakers claim that AM radio waves generate enough electromagnetic interference to affect the AM signal — while others are keeping AM.

The Ford statement “most new and updated 2024 models" suggested gas-powered vehicles were included as well, though Ford made clear that commercial vehicles “will continue to offer AM radio because of longstanding contract language.”

The announcement generated significant backlash from the public and government agencies alike. While AM channels are available via apps and streaming services, these groups, including FEMA, cited AM as a fallback communications method to disseminate emergency information.

The gradual abandonment of AM radio in vehicles moved Senator Ed Markey to send a letter to 20 manufacturers requesting that they maintain AM radios in all their new vehicle models.

AM for Every Vehicle Act

Markey and fellow lawmakers are taking the fight one step further. On May 17, Markey and a bipartisan House and Senate coalition announced the “AM for Every Vehicle Act,” which would direct federal regulators to require automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in their new vehicles at no additional charge. 

In the joint statement, reasons for keeping AM beyond safety were cited:

“Each day, millions of Americans turn to AM radio to stay up to date on life in their community, engage on the issues they care about, or to be simply entertained during rush hour,” said Senator Ted Cruz. “AM radio is a critical bulwark for democracy, providing a platform for alternative viewpoints and the ability for elected officials to share our efforts with our constituents.”

8 Automakers Removed AM from EV Models

Ford isn’t the only automaker to consider the change. According to Markey’s office, these companies no longer offer an AM radio receiver in their EVs.

  • BMW
  • Ford
  • Mazda
  • Polestar
  • Rivian
  • Tesla
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

10 Automakers Maintaining AM Radio Access

  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Jaguar/Land Rover
  • Kia
  • Lucid
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Stellantis
  • Subaru

In the press statement, Markey’s office said Mercedes-Benz and General Motors declined to provide individual responses.

About the author
Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Associate Publisher of Automotive Fleet (digital), Business Fleet, Fleet Forward, Auto Rental News

As associate publisher of Automotive Fleet (digital), Auto Rental News, Fleet Forward, and Business Fleet, Chris Brown covers all aspects of fleets, transportation, and mobility.

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