No AM In i3? i Series

The BMW i3 is one of the most technologically advanced vehicles in the country. So, the i3 not coming with AM radio can be puzzling, depending on your view of what advanced technology should look like.

Now, this is not anything new since the absence of AM radio in i3 has been documented before. Still, the root cause has not been examined, at least until now when BMW explains.

“AM is not offered due to negative performance influences of the electromagnetic interference of the electric drivetrain,” said Rebecca K. Kiehne, a BMW product and technical communications spokesperson. “Electric motors cause interference on AM which is why BMW decided to remove this option. While it could be offered, BMW’s performance standards are very high and we don’t offer a product that meets less than those high standards,” Kiehne added.

Last year, a spokesman for BMW Dave Buchko commented on the matter as well, saying

“We learned from our experience with MINI E and BMW ActiveE that the electric motor causes interference with the AM signal. Rather than frustrate customers with inferior reception, the decision was made to leave it off. HD Radio is standard on the i3 and through multi-casting, many traditional AM stations in key markets are available on secondary and tertiary HD signals.”

More details are not offered by BMW at this point but that shouldn’t stop us from getting our AM fix. In fact, we know that there are actually a few ways around the problem as other i3 owners have done. Beware though. You might lose your warranty by tampering with the software layer of the i3.

AM Radio

To enable AM radio


Werte=01 – Enable AM Radio

Werte=00 – Default (AM Radio disabled)

By using this sequence, if you can use it, you can have your AM feature.

This is a little odd though since BMW’s prior vehicles certainly offered AM radio. Now, before you actually apply the sequence above, you have to consider your location.

One i3 owners explains, “Depending on where you live, the reception can be very bad due to interference from the electric drive electronics. From what I got out of BMW, the interference was unacceptable for them and they felt their customers would be complaining about it.”

On that note, other owners of the i3 who tried the trick say that it works just fine.

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