Electric vehicles (EVs) are the way of the future but this could spell trouble for AM radio.  More than a few EVs have eliminated the AM radio from the infotainment system citing the increased interference created by the electric motors which diminishes the user experience.  An example infotainment screen taken from the popular Volkswagen ID.4 EV is shown below and AM is missing.

Infotainment screen from a Volkswagen ID.4

Infotainment screen from a Volkswagen ID.4 showing available frequency bands.

All-digital AM radio, which is significantly more robust to noise and interference than traditional AM, may offer an answer.  This topic was covered at the 2021 NAB Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference (available on-demand here).  In a paper and presentation by Pooja Nair, communications system engineer with Xperi Corporation and myself as co-author, we discuss some of the specific technical issues with receiving AM radio signals in EVs and present the results of field tests of EVs with AM radio for both analog and all-digital signals.

The VOD presentation includes a number of audio clips with examples of AM radio being interfered with by the EV systems, as well as examples of all-digital AM signals working well in the EV.  These clips were obtained from field test observations made of all-digital AM station WWFD, 820 kHz, Frederick, MD (owned by Hubbard Radio).  Detailed maps of the field test runs are included in both the Proceedings paper and the VOD presentation.

2021 BEIT Proceedings