Car radios have a hard time, the smartphone makes life difficult for them. But they are threatened with extinction because of a completely different development.
Munich – For many drivers, the radio is still an important source for listening to music or the news. But overall, the car radio is on the decline, also because the smartphone is increasingly taking its place.
The end of the MW car radio: Electric vehicle drive works on the same wavelength
But that's not the reason why MW radios that transmit medium-wave broadcasting are becoming increasingly rare in cars. The main reason for this is the ever-increasing spread of electric cars. This is because their electric powertrain seems to interfere with MW radio transmissions.
The matter was brought to the attention of the public by US Senator Edward Markey, who in December last year wanted to know from car manufacturers why they no longer install MW radios in their vehicles. At the beginning of March, the senator published the response letters. According to Tesla, "electric vehicle drives generate electromagnetic waves that interfere with the frequency of MW radio signals operating at a similar wavelength to the electric drive."
Car radios could soon be © completely out of fashion Arnulf Hettrich/imago
BMW: Munich-based car manufacturer has not installed MW radios since 2014
BMW writes that since the introduction of the i3, the installation of MW radios in the hybrid and all-electric models has been dispensed with. This is also justified by the electromagnetic interference, which led to a poor reception quality of the analogue MW radio. In addition, technological innovations have given consumers many additional options for receiving information. According to Popular Mechanics magazine, Mazda and Volvo are also no longer installing MW radios.
The end of the MW car radio: Hardly a problem in Germany, but it is in the USA
Medium wave is mainly used for terrestrial broadcasting of radio programmes beyond the transmission area of FM stations. In Germany, as well as in other countries in Europe, medium-wave broadcasting has lost much of its importance for years, so that the discontinuation of MW radio does not play a major role in these regions.
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In the USA, however, MW radio is still an important medium. This is because emergency messages are transmitted via medium wave, as Senator Markey also notes. MW radios are an important part of the emergency alarm infrastructure, the "truth is that MW radio is irreplaceable." He will continue to work to ensure that car manufacturers continue to offer access to MW transmitters in their vehicles inthe future.