California tests digital license plates, Cool or totally unnecessary ?


Even license plates are digital now.

California is testing them in Sacramento, according to the Sacramento Bee. The license plates have e-ink displays, like Kindles, and they’re not cheap.

Dealerships will charge $699 plus installation costs for the plates, which are made by California-based Reviver Auto. On top of that, they require a subscription that costs $7 a month.

Why would anyone want one?

First, they eliminate the need to attach new registration stickers. They’re also capable of displaying personal messages that appear when you stop, pushing the license plate number to the top right of the display. (The California DMV still has to OK this feature.) And they’ll be trackable — a plus if you’re worried about car thieves, a negative if you’re paranoid about being tracked by the government.

While rich tech bros seem like potential customers, it’ll probably be companies with fleets of cars who buy them first, Reviver Auto founder Neville Boston told the Bee.

That makes sense. A car rental or package delivery company could advertise on them, and the tracking feature would be useful for keeping tabs on a large number of vehicles.

Right now, the city of Sacramento is testing the license plates with 24 Chevy Volts. The state legislature will evaluate them in 2020, and then the plates could be headed toward a street near you.


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