The next big update to your Ford EV might bring some decidedly old technology. Ford chief Jim Farley has revealed that the brand will add AM broadcast radio to its 2023 Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning models through a software update following discussions with politicians about the emergency alert system. It will also be included on all 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles, including the previously announced Mustang coupe.
Ford cut AM radio from its 2023 EVs after data showed that less than 5 percent of customers used it, according to spokesperson Alan Hall. The company was also concerned about interference with the EV system, and was trying to reduce cost and manufacturing challenges. You could still stream AM stations, but conventional broadcasts weren't available.
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 2024 @Ford & @LincolnMotorCo vehicles. For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software…
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) May 23, 2023
The decision comes less than a week after a bipartisan group of senators and House representatives introduced a bill, the AM for Every Vehicle Act, to require the older radio format in new cars without charging a premium. They believe AM is "essential" during emergencies, and that removing it could put public safety at risk. A trade group that includes Ford, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, claimed the measure was unneeded as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can deliver alerts through FM, satellite and streaming.
This isn't an altruistic gesture, then, and it's unclear how Ford will address potential interference problems. Even so, this may be good news if you live in an area prone to natural disasters. You can buy EVs from Ford knowing you'll get potentially life-saving warnings. This also applies pressure to BMW, Tesla and other vendors that have dropped AM radio in newer cars.