Automotive

Electronic license plates introduced in California

Electronic license plates intr...
The Rplate Pro replaces a vehicle's existing rear license plate
The Rplate Pro replaces a vehicle's existing rear license plate
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When the car is parked, the Rplate Pro can display custom messages such as public service announcements, amber alerts or paid advertising
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When the car is parked, the Rplate Pro can display custom messages such as public service announcements, amber alerts or paid advertising
The Rplate Pro replaces a vehicle's existing rear license plate
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The Rplate Pro replaces a vehicle's existing rear license plate

Back in 2010, we first heard about how the state of California was looking at introducing digital electronic license plates. Well, it's recently done so, and it's got the ball rolling by outfitting the City of Sacramento's fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs with Reviver Auto's Rplate Pro.

Featuring a monochromatic eReader-like Bi-stable LCD display that's covered with protective glass, the Rplate Pro is powered by its own replaceable battery, and replaces the car's current "analog" rear plate – a traditional metal plate is still legally required on the front of the vehicle, in California at least.

Among other things, the weatherproof internet-connected device allows for automated registration renewals (no more applying decals), it lets the location and mileage of stolen and/or fleet vehicles be tracked by GPS, and when the car is parked, it can display custom messages such as public service announcements, amber alerts or paid advertising.

When the car is parked, the Rplate Pro can display custom messages such as public service announcements, amber alerts or paid advertising
When the car is parked, the Rplate Pro can display custom messages such as public service announcements, amber alerts or paid advertising

Selling advertising on the plates could be a source of revenue for California, and the state should be able to save money by reducing the need to manufacture and mail out metal plates. Instead, individuals or companies interested in using the plates will have to buy them from participating auto dealers, at a cost of US$699 plus a monthly service fee of around $7.

So far, the City of Sacramento has equipped 24 cars with the electronic plates, and plans on adding them to another 11 Bolts that it has yet to receive. The Rplate Pro has been commercially available in California since June 1st, and is being trialled in a pilot project in Arizona. Similar projects could soon begin in Texas, Florida and Washington State, plus the plates may be coming to the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai in the near future.

More of the Rplate Pro's features are outlined in the video below.

Source: Reviver Auto

Reviver Auto Overview

15 comments
Ichabod Ebenezer
You had me right up until the price tag. I was even going to be okay with the advertising BS. But you can't make us purchase this, and for such a high price, with almost no direct benefit to the driver, THEN force us to advertise something we don't necessarily agree with/believe in.
Komakai.Okane
Searching for the consumer upside here: $700 per plate, easy to steal, non-recyclable, self battery powered so another thing to maintain. Soon the vehicle manufactures will be designing this feature into the car anyway, so just wait a few more years.
Nahor
So I should pay $7 a month to the state can make even more money from advertisement!? I should pay so that the government can use my car for its own purpose? Who think of this things?
VincentWolf
Yeah hack into the cars electronics and change the numbers to one that just commited a crime (like a bank robbery, etc) and watch the cops arrest the wrong person--and get someone killed probably. Bad bad bad bad idea.
Daishi
They are going to save on money by moving to a $700 plate that has a $7/month service fee? Moving reliable $4 license plates to a $700 proprietary one that needs batteries and runs ads is such a California thing to do. Can I get a scrolling text on mine that says I'm a vegan who rescued my pet from a shelter?
paul314
So how long until the backdoors and zero-day exploits are published? Seems like a solution in search of a bunch of people with more money than sense. At least they still require on real plate.
Tom Lee Mullins
As long as it is not mandated but only as an option, I think that is neat. If it was mandated (perhaps eventually), it could make California even more expensive to live in.
piperTom
If the state can track a stolen car, then they can track YOU. For THIS, I supposed to pay? Oh, hell no.
Joe123
And now folks you know why people in California are leaving the state at a record pace! And now you also know why a big red wave just passed over California elections last night. How crazy do you have to be not to understand people would rather leave the state than to pay for these stupid ideas that will be forced on the people eventually. I thought these people on the west coast loved their environment. Can you imagine how many lithium batteries it will take to power all these plates? Can you imagine how dirty these plates are to produce, the amount to energy it will take? Who notices license plates anyway? For that kind of money I can mount a 55" flat screen on the side of my car!
JasonBurr
Sounds like the $7/month is for the onStar like features (geo fence, stolen car tracking, etc.) BUT $700 to buy for something that is going to need ongoing service, like batteries and cover lens?? So who's going to cover the cost when it gets smashed by vandals or random road debris? Either this should be a fee to use (like vanity plates) and stays property of the state, or $700 is a one time fee that covers purchase and all future repairs/updates/replacements.