After pressure from lawmakers, Ford reversed its decision to build new cars without AM radios.
CEO Jim Farley wrote notes On Twitter and LinkedIn on Tuesday, AM radio will be included on 2024 Ford and Lincoln Motor vehicles, a decision the executive made “after speaking with political leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as part of an emergency alert system.”
Last week, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers introduced a bill calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require AM on new vehicles at no additional cost. Sponsors of the AM for Every Car Act argue that AM radio has historically helped deliver critical information during emergencies, particularly in rural areas.
The act was prompted by decisions by many automakers, including Ford, Tesla, BMW, Volkswagen, and Mazda, to remove AM radio from their new electric vehicles. The companies noted that the electric motors could interfere with the sound of AM radio stations.
“I would think that if Elon Musk had enough money to buy Twitter and send rockets, he could afford to put an AM radio in his Teslas,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, the lead sponsor of the House bill. announcement last week. Instead, Elon Musk and Tesla and other car manufacturers are putting public safety and emergency response at risk.”
On Tuesday, in response to Ford’s announcement to keep AM radio, Gottheimer again called on Tesla, as well as other automakers, to follow Ford’s lead and “realize how important AM radio is to the backbone of America’s Public Warning System.”
“When the cell phone dies, the Internet goes down, or the TV doesn’t work because your house has no electricity or power, you can still turn on your AM radio,” he said.
Ford already removed AM from the 2023 Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning electric pickup after data collected from the vehicles showed that less than 5% of customers heard it, according to Ford representative. Due to electrical interference, it just makes sense to remove it from future cars. Ford also removed the AM radio from the gas-powered 2024 Mustang, but plans to add it back before either car is delivered.
Farley said Ford will offer a software update today to EVs on the road without AM broadcast capability.
In particular, the executive did not promise to keep AM radio in his cars forever. In his social media posts, Farley said Ford will “continue to innovate and provide better in-car entertainment and emergency notification options in the future.”
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group that represents major automakers, criticized the bill and said the AM radio mandate was unnecessary.
“Whether or not an AM radio is physically installed in vehicles has no effect on drivers’ ability to receive emergency alerts through the many modes of communication available in vehicles manufactured today,” the group said. tweet.
According to Nielsen, more than 80 million people in the U.S. listen to AM radio each month.