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Tesla 3 Apparently Will Have FM Radio

Auto websites eagerly pore over touchscreen on lower-priced all-electric car

The question of whether the new Tesla Model 3 has broadcast radio, or indeed other common audio features, has been swirling. But it appears that the car will have at least FM reception.

An image from the Tesla website.

The question came up via reports on automotive and consumer tech websites, asking about audio options on the car, marketed as a more affordable all-electric vehicle with a price tag starting at $35,000. The vehicle notably uses a controversial and dramatically powerful touchscreen in place of physical controls even for functions like shifting, wipers and mirrors.

Earlier the automotive website The Drive had reported that Slacker Radio apparently was the only option at present for North American drivers, and that there was apparently no radio. Another media outlet, The Verge, described the situation a bit differently based on a peek at a video of a car demo. “Another confusing aspect is the apparent lack of FM radio in the Model 3. There is satellite radio and podcasts galore …” The Verge also reported that Tesla was said to be negotiating with major labels about licensing a proprietary music service that would come bundled with its cars.

However, early reports of specific car model features can be misleading or incomplete.

The Drive subsequently updated its story, sayingTesla has told it that any features missing but listed on the Model 3 website — which do include FM radio and Bluetooth media streaming — “will be activated soon via an over-the-air update.” But no mention of AM.

Radio people, of course, are watching all such auto dashboard design developments with concern over their future prominence — or even presence. They were worried that when BMW earlier omitted AM reception from certain models, citing electrical noise concerns. One thing seems likely: Concerns for radio managers about the design of car interiors is likely to get a lot hotter in the age of new designs as well as electric and autonomous driving.

The Tesla 3 promises 220 miles of range on an electric charge. According to its website, deliveries are beginning in the U.S. but delivery will take a year or more for new reservations.