I recently saw that digital license plates are now legal in California and I was like “what the heck is that?” and I bet you may be wondering the same thing. So, here is everything we know so far on digital license plates.

According to an article from newsweek.com, the digital license plate trend has been led by startup Reviver, which provides them in personal and commercial capacities. But what is it?

Photo by Clayton Cardinalli on Unsplash
Photo by Clayton Cardinalli on Unsplash

The digitized plates, according to the company, allow for greater control and convenience over your plate and the DMV registration and renewal process.

The license plates come as either battery-powered or wired directly into your car's electrical system. Each plate is essentially a monochromatic HD display that can display your customized license plate. What is interesting is that it will display your plate number if your registration is up to date or an "invalid" sign if out of date. If you were to buy a battery operating plate they say the battery lasts up to 5 years.

As of right now, digital license plates are legal and available in California, Arizona, Michigan, and Texas. They're also legal to use in all 50 states says newsweek.com.

But how much will this cost? Well, according to the Newsweek article, which came out this past June, “A battery-powered or hardwired version both start at $19.95 per month for a 48-month subscription or $215.40 for a four-year plan.” Then for the installation, if you have a battery-powered one you install it yourself, but if you wire it to your car’s electrical system that could cost around $99.

In addition to this, there could be a charge for a new plate Newsweek shares that in Michigan and Arizona, drivers are charged $5 while California charges $23. I wonder what this could mean for Minnesota as the DPS states its $7 for a renewal filing fee and then regular plates are $15 for 2.

But hold on, you are not done. You have to go through an activation process before installing. This includes downloading an app and registering your plate number then waiting 1-3 business days for the DMV to approve.

Photo by Deniz Demirci on Unsplash
Photo by Deniz Demirci on Unsplash

So why would I do this? Since digital license plates were just recently legalized in California for drivers to install the plates KTLA shares that “The hardware connects to an app and allows owners to utilize vehicle location services, security features, stolen vehicle reports, registration renewals without the need for stickers or visiting a DMV location, and more.”

So, while there is more money being paid upfront it could save you time and possibly money if your car is ever stolen. But I am still a bit skeptical about this…

Don’t worry though, I have not seen anywhere that Minnesota is trying to jump on this bandwagon. Aside from Michigan, the only other Midwest state discussing digital plates is Illinois. However, there is a bill going around and according to KHQA, the bill “would require the Secretary of State's office to conduct a study on how to implement a digital license plate program.” As of right now, there is a lot of concern about it. KHQA quoted Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, who said “Technology certainly is one thing about how you make this up so that there's no hacking into people's license plates. As we evolve in the transportation sector, these are the kinds of things we'd take a look at."

all information is credited to the articles from newsweek.com, khqa.com, and ktla.com.

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