Ford Authority

AM Radio Retention May Be Costly For Automakers: Report

Several months ago, much ado was made of Ford’s move to ditch AM radio in its future models – save for commercial vehicles – a decision that reportedly stemmed from the fact that, well, the automaker feels like modern streaming alternatives and satellite radio are a superior product. However, this move stirred up considerable controversy among not only AM listeners, but also lawmakers, who claim that its removal would create a significant communication problem during emergencies, to the point where some penned a bill that would force automakers to keep it. Ultimately, Ford opted to retain AM radio functionality in its 2024 models, but a new report from the Center for Automotive Research (CAP) found that such a move could prove costly over the coming years.

Potential Mitigation Solutions For AM Radio In EVs

“The compatibility of EVs with AM radio reception poses a significant challenge due to EMI generated by the inherent properties of their high-voltage electrical systems and onboard electronics,” CPA stated in its report. “This interference distorts AM radio signals, affecting the listening experience for drivers and passengers.”

As such, mitigation techniques such as shielded cables, EMI filters, strategic component placement, active noise cancellation, and AM receiver improvements are needed, but all of those things obviously cost money. Additionally, those components add weight to a vehicle, which can hamper performance and range in EVs, all of which can add up to a cumulative cost to automakers of $3.8 billion by the year 2030 if those companies continue to offer it in future models, according to CAP.

Cost Of EMI Mitigation In EVs Equipped With AM Radio

“Returning to the central question of this research, the cost implications of implementing near-term EMI mitigation measures can pose a significant burden on automakers today,” CPA said of its findings. “Some automakers have avoided mitigation costs by choosing not to offer analog AM radio in their products. Other automakers have faced increased charges in implementing EMI mitigation measures to provide analog AM radios in EVs. These costs have typically resulted from late-stage changes in the product development cycle.”

We’ll have more on the future of AM radio soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. David Dickinson II

    With all of Ford’s stupid patents, this is an easy problem to fix. With all of Ford’s EV problems, they have bigger fish to fry. The main problem is that Ford doesn’t want you to listen to free OTA radio, and they would rather force you through one of their paid, data-sucking platforms. Free AM radio cuts into their desired revenue stream, and all these AM “problems” are just excuses. Why is it that AM radio magically isn’t a problem if a vehicle is used for commercial purposes?

    1. Davidm0604

      The last time I tuned in an AM station was over 30 years ago when AM Stereo was introduced to great “acclaim” in the 1989 Thunderbird S/C with premium JBL sound. Let’s make those AM broadcasters fire up the AM stero band again! Maybe Ford should bring back Bill Lear’s 4 track tape players also. Gee, velour upholstery would be great, too!

      1. David Dickinson II

        Then don’t use it. But don’t eliminate it for those that do use it. It is great for sports and talk radio, in rural (especially mountainous) areas where FM signals are weak, for emergency broadcasts, in numerous low power “traffic information” systems, etc. AM has value.

  2. Buck

    This is all BS

  3. SCEcoBoost

    Such a hoked-up pity. We’re not believing you anymore, manufacturers. You pushed us over the cliff. Now, suffer.

  4. RF Engineer

    “… automakers claiming AM radio generates interference when used in EVs.”
    This is the most absurd statement I have heard on this issue.
    AM radio does NOT create any interference to EVs.
    The EVs create the interference to the reception of AM radio signals.
    The Inverters that change the DC from the battery to AC as used by the motors are the culprits. It can also be generated by the charging systems which using “switching” type electronics to change the AC from your house power to the DC that the battery requires.
    This interference also hampers the reception of MANY radio signals – even FM – because the interference (normally referred to as EMI – Electromagnetic Interference or RFI – Radio Frequency Interference) is also an electromagnetic wave exactly like the signal that your radio is designed to receive – so it is in competition with those signals that you want to hear. This EMI could conceivably prevent your garage door remote or anything else in the vicinity that uses RF from working. Soon many of your electronic items will need filters.
    More filtering is not the answer.
    What really needs to happen is that the EV should be prevented from generating the noise in the first place.

    1. KR Reed

      Thanks for the thoughts very good!

  5. Bill Howland

    Anyone who states “the am radio is interfering with the cars or remotes electronics”, is an imbecile.

  6. Christopher Boone

    This article is a joke. It’s obviously one-sided and biased. I’ve been a broadcast engineer for 40 years and have owned an AM stereo radio station. The manufacturers refused to put money in receivers! There’s no reason why the AM side of a radio cannot have noise blanketing and variable bandwidth along with stereo in them which would cost pennies per unit in large volume but the manufacturers like Ford have their heads up their butt and refuse to improve them. Don’t come with statements like this that it’s going to cost you money when you refuse to spend the money to make a radio that’s better. I wish Congress would mandate better receivers in car radios. I’m tired of listening to the dribble and the piece of crap AM sections that manufacturers put out.. I drive a Ford Escape and the AM section in it sucks. If I could find an older AM stereo radio to replace it with, you damn right I would.. four did make some decent am stereo radios in the ’80s and ’90s but over the years have cheapened them all in the name of profit, cutting the audio band with so the inconsumer won’t quote complain about noise “. Why not build a damn better radio that battles the noise? The Motorola amax 2 chip stereo system would do it. Radios with HD have enough DSP horsepower in them to be able to provide AM stereo, variable bandwidth, and noise blanketing with only a few extra lines of code. But you won’t do it!. You manufacturers have gotten cheap over the years..


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