May in Transportation – What’s the deal with AM radio? Plus, recaps of Act Expo and the New York International Auto Show 

May Transportation Blog

Written by Jeremy Ertl | Associate PR Director  

Each month, we pull together news and trends around the future of transportation — from advancements in the electric vehicle space to autonomous rules and regulations to policy funding (only the good stuff!). This month, we cover off on the death of AM radio, recap ACT Expo and the New York Auto Show and more. Let’s hit the road! 

A Flop: AM Radio 


Remember AM radio? That kind of crackly, muffled thing your dad always had on? Well, electric cars aren’t picking up what the airwaves are putting down, via Axios

EV motors actually interfere with AM frequencies, making it even more crackly and muffled. Vehicle manufacturers are going as far as to eliminate AM radio from their cars, which leads to a bigger issue: AM radio serves as a critical safety tool for federal, state and local officials to alert the public of a natural disaster or emergency.  

So, will automakers work to mitigate the issue, or will the government adapt to new tech? It’s a real Scandoval in the electric vehicle world, if you ask us. 

A Serve: ACT Expo 

Let me upgrade you. This year, the nation’s biggest clean transportation summit went Anaheim. Moving inland from its Long Beach roots, leading commercial vehicle manufacturers and suppliers showcased a bevy of battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell innovations at the California convention. Check out Automotive News for a full recap. 

Some highlights: 

  • The Rizon family of trucks, the Freightliner eM2 and the Lion5 all made their debut at this year’s show (Commercial Carrier Journal).
    • Dear reader, we are a proud agency partner for the first two vehicles on this list. Our team helped launch eM2, and supported brand and model naming, logo design, positioning, brand guidelines, product imagery and more for Rizon. We can’t wait to share more soon.
  • Dump trucks and cement mixers and excavators, oh my! Why leave all the fun to the semi-trucks? Vocational vehicles got in on the electric makeover (cue montage scene of a dump truck at a shopping mall) at this year’s show, via Autoweek

Electric Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of 

The New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) saw less attendance this year as many major automakers have gone the path of virtual unveilings in the years since COVID, but the event still serves as an important platform to showcase new vehicles and tech, with electric innovation on prominent display in 2023 (Autoblog). 

“After years of failed promises around “self-driving cars” — at least on the consumer front — automakers who had something to say in New York had less to say about autonomy and more about electrification, fast charging and software features.” (TechCrunch

Some highlights: 

  • It looks like the hamsters have not been asleep at the wheel, unveiling the KIA EV9 as an all-electric family offering with three rows of seats and “technology for life” (Engadget), including clever features like haptic dash switches that hide when the vehicle is off and a center console with enough storage for the seats in front of and behind it. The long-range model also promises an impressive 300-mile range on a single charge. 
  • Think that’s far? The new REV Ram 1500 electric pickup will come with options: a standard battery pack that runs 350 miles on a single charge and a supersized pack that runs up to 500 miles (Associated Press). Add a 350 kilowatt fast charger and you’ll get an additional 110 miles to the all-wheel-drive REV in about 10 minutes. At a jobsite? Plug the vehicle in and power your worksite tools. Lose power during a hurricane? REV’s got you covered. The electric pickup is capable of sending power back to the grid in a pinch. Going through a breakup? We’re sure Ram’s got a plan for that too.  

Chipotle and Walmart Amp Up Their Electric Street Cred 

New buzzword in the house? Chipotle has coined themselves a “responsible restaurant,” as part of its mission to maximize efficiency and use renewable energy. The fast-caszh chain recently debuted an all-electric restaurant design that features rooftop solar panels and EV charging stations. Your move, Qdoba.  

Walmart saw Chipotle’s news and was like, same. The retailer currently has more than a thousand EV charging stations in operations at stores across the U.S., and plans to add thousands more by 2030. Always charging while shopping always low prices? It’s a win/win for consumers. 

Quick miles: 

  • Ford CEO Jim Farley (who has been cozying up to Elon Musk, via Electrek) has been Mario Kondo-ing the 120-year-old automaker into three new divisions — “Model e” for EVs, “Ford Blue” for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and “Ford Pro” for commercial trucks and vans (Bloomberg). Got more personalities than HBO Max/HBO Now/HBO Go/Max. 
  • And no tax credits for Gretchen Wieners. Only 14 EVs are left on the VIP list for a $7.500 federal incentive (for perspective, Americans can purchase 91 different electric models). This move by the Biden administration ensures that American manufacturing is prioritized in the race to EV (Politico). 
  • Charging your EV taking too long? A startup named Ample is trying to change that with next-gen autonomous battery swapping stations, getting you back on the road in just minutes. (Autoblog

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