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2.2 pounds is what an AM radio weighs in your car

How much does the fix for AM radio in electric vehicles weigh? Not much, considering how much an EV weighs. That is the message from the National Association of Broadcasters, dispelling some of the arguments raised this week by the auto industry trying to block a bill in Congress that would require AM radio receivers in vehicles.

The Center for Automotive Research released a study this week that said that its surveys shows that the filters needed to allow for AM reception in electric vehicles would add about 2.2 pounds to the overall weight of a car. “This burden is a lot, as reducing vehicle weight is a big concern for automakers, and they pay a premium to save every pound of weight in the car,” it says. “This imposes an extra cost burden on the automakers and has the consumer-facing functional impact of reducing the driving range of an EV.”

But the NAB says 2.2 pounds – or about a quarter the weight of an average cat – is hardly a dealbreaker for electric vehicles. In a blog post, it says it is just 0.2% of the weight of an EV battery, which weighs an average 1,000 pounds or more depending on the vehicle model. And it points out that Tesla Model Y weighs over 4,000 pounds, making the AM radio fixes even less of a burden relative to its overhaul heft.

The NAB earlier shot back at the Center for Automotive Research’s claim that the cost of keeping AM radio in dashboards would be $3.8 billion through 2030. It pointed out the cost touted in the report was for not only fixes to address AM radio reception problems but also to fix interference problems with other systems, including ones related to vehicle safety, durability, thermal conduction, and functional purposes of chassis, body, infotainment, and all the associated power distribution needs in electric vehicles.

The car industry report also suggested that the costs would be ongoing for automakers. But the NAB says most of the costs associated with mitigating interference to AM radio would be temporary. With future redesigns that work the electromagnetic compatibility into the car design, NAB says subsequent model years will not require the same level of electromagnetic protection as first-generation electric vehicles will.

“Many automakers have already figured out a way to include AM radio in their electric models,” says NAB. It points out that of the 20 EV automakers listed in the report, 12 include or plan to include AM in their EVs. And Ford, which had previously announced plans to remove AM radio from future vehicles, has since reversed course, offering a software update to restore AM radio capability where it has been removed.

The back and forth comes as broadcasters are seeing support grow in Congress for the proposed AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act (S. 1669). If passed, it would direct the Department of Transportation to issue a rule requiring that AM broadcast stations be accessible in all passenger motor vehicles manufactured in, imported into, or shipped within the U.S. The Government Accountability Office would also be required to study whether alternative communication systems could fully replicate the reach and effectiveness of AM radio for alerting the public during emergencies.

The bill was passed out of committee in July, and its list of supporters has grown to 36 senators with the issue cutting across political lines.

The House version of the bill (H.R.3413) also remains pending, with bipartisan support also growing with a total of 177 supporters. No votes have been taken in the House, but during a hearing on the bill in June, there was strong support for keeping AM radio in vehicles, although a few lawmakers expressed some concerns about putting a mandate on carmakers.


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