Technological Progress Often Involves Minor Regress of Some Feature

(p. A1) The same types of electric-powered motors that propel Teslas past 150 mph and the Chevy Bolt as far as 238 miles on a charge, are a total buzz kill for AM reception. Instead of sports, oldies or news, it’s more like all-static, all-the-time radio.

As auto makers race headlong into an electrified future, AM radios are getting kicked to the curb, joining cassette decks, eight-track players and ashtrays.

. . .

(p. A14) One web developer offers a smartphone app that, when used with a diagnostic port adapter, can activate the dormant AM radio reception in a BMW i3 EV.

The German auto maker warns that may void the warranty, but using the app is easy, said Art Isabell, 74, a 2014 BMW i3 owner. He retired from Apple as a software support engineer and lives in Honolulu.

Even though the AM reception in his electric vehicle is sketchy, Mr. Isabell said, he wants the option: “I rarely listen to AM radio, but I want to have it available as another potential source of information during emergency situations such as severe weather, tsunamis or North Korean missile attacks.”

For the full story, see:

Chester Dawson. “Electric Cars Get Static on AM Radio.” The Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018): A1 & A14.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 6, 2018, and the title “Your Tesla Can Go Zero to 60 in 2.5 Seconds But Can’t Get AM Radio.”)

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