By on June 13, 2022

Michigan has opted to allow digital license plates, making it the third state – after California and Arizona – to give them legal backing. The state’s legislature passed the necessary laws in 2019, making it legal for vehicles registered in Michigan to utilize digital vehicle identification while traveling throughout the rest of the nation. But the company that produces them, Reviver, has only just recently found itself in a position to furnish them.

“Drivers deserve a modern licensing solution that works for the way we live today. We are beyond excited to make digital license plates available to all drivers in Michigan,” stated Neville Boston, Reviver’s co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “I want to thank the state legislators and government representatives, as well as the many other transportation officials and partners throughout the state for working with us to help make this a reality – we are thrilled to reach this milestone.”

The devices themselves are monochromatic replacements for the stamped piece of metal that goes on the back of your vehicle. According to the manufacturer, they have the ability for some minor customization. For example, customers can pair the devices with their smartphones to swap between light and dark modes that reverse the background and text shades. But the real sales pitch revolves around what the “RPlate” can offer in terms of safety.

Reviver says having one equipped to your car allows for it to be tracked when it’s stolen (and presumably when it isn’t being stolen) while also allowing it to display relevant information in an emergency. The example given here was an amber alert, though the manufacturer said there was more to come as it developed relationships with law enforcement. Additional perks include not having to go anywhere for registration renewal. Customers can simply re-up via the internet without even having to bend down to swap stickers. However, those that forget will see their digitized plate swap to a giant display reading “INVALID” until they’ve shelled out the money.

But the alleged benefits come via a fairly steep subscription fee. Standard plate fees in Michigan cost roughly the same as a fast-food hamburger until you need a new one, whereas the RPlate will run you $19.95 a month for a battery-powered model that includes a replaceable battery. Versions that require a professional to actually hardwire the device into your car are $24.95 a month – plus the $150 installation fee.

It seems like a lot of money to spend on something that probably wouldn’t survive a fender bender and seems poised to further erode personal privacy.

Reviver says it’s presently in active discussions with 10 other states to get the hardware sold – something that doesn’t appear to require the company to give local government a share of its revenue. However, this is not the case for its “Auto Dealership Partner Program,” which now includes over 100 shops that will attempt to encourage shoppers to snag digital plates straight from the lot.

Future plans under consideration include working with manufacturers to integrate digital plates into the cars themselves and expanding the list of RPlate features. The business has also stated that it believes its hardware would be ideal for fleet management. But Reviver’s primary concern is getting all 50 states to offer them as an alternative to standard license plates that don’t require a monthly subscription and aren’t connected permanently to the internet.

[Images: Reviver]

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34 Comments on “Digital License Plates Gaining Traction in U.S....”


  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Oh good, I was just thinking the government (foreign and domestic) and businesses did not have enough ways to track my every move.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    It will only be worth the money to me if I can customize messages to other drivers on the fly. I can think of a million uses for that, I can think of very few otherwise.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    What an absolute waste of materials.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Let me think about this a moment. A license plate that needs to remain connected to the interwebs at all time. It requires a replacement battery OR can be hardwired to my car electrical system. I can be made to display anything at any times (yea, no hacking opportunity here) AND costs a monthly subscription fee?

    Here’s a solution in search for a non-existent problem.

    Hmmmmm……..

    This is a easy NO!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    $19.95 a month for a battery-powered model, or $24.95 a month + $150 installation for a hard-wired model.

    WOW. That’s an easy no.

    I asked myself how Michigan can simultaneously permit digital license plates yet prohibit direct car sales, but then I already know the answer.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    Who would pay money for this? What is a single benefit, beyond allowing the government and eventually your insurance company, to track you 24/7?

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “making it legal for vehicles registered in Michigan to utilize digital vehicle identification while traveling throughout the rest of the nation.”

    No, Michigan cannot pass laws that apply in other states.

    Sorry to burst that bubble.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Another prime example of “just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do it”.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    What is required for this that they have to gouge you every freaking month for the privilege?!

    Oh wait..for the “Big Brother” tracking garbage, right?!

    I can see hack jobs all over with this! Some clown with a laptop comes up behind you and types in some command to change your plate display to something incendiary, like “I’m going to kill [some high-ranking government official],” and next thing you know, you’re in the “felony prone” position at the side of the road with every law-enforcement agency in the eight surrounding counties represented by at least two vehicles behind you! Bonus if the stop is after dark, as the resulting light show could probably be seen from orbit!

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    Sorry, I’m a bit confused. Does this have regular numbers/letters on it like all other plates?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I can see this tech being either reverse engineered or acquired by another company and built into cars in the future. There is no need for a separate bolt on device for license plates anymore. Much like Simcards for phones, license plates are outdated and need to be married to the car instead of using plates and stickers.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      @jkross22–Would make more sense to build the technology into the vehicles but then that would require Federal regulations which would force all states into adopting digital license plates but that might happen in the future anyway. As a consumer there is no benefit and I can just as easily screw my metal plate onto the rear bumper of my vehicles and affix an annual renewal sticker onto the plate. Most law enforcement agencies can scan your plates as their cars are on patrol. Zero benefit to me as a consumer and driver with higher costs.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        It’s not just zero benefit. It will cost you $20/month. It’s a net loss.

        I guess there’s a market for anything, including people who enjoy lighting $20s on fire.

        Just more waste that I’ve only seen, ironically, on Teslas.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          I said zero benefit and higher costs. I am not for digital license plates but I do see this being instituted and required in the future and if this is the case let the manufacturers include it in the vehicle and do not require a monthly subscription service from the owners. It is law enforcement that benefits the most from this technology so it should be law enforcement that pays for the service we the purchasers of vehicles will pay up front for the hardware and for the yearly license renewal. Also many aftermarket installations do not work as well as those installed when the vehicle is being made. Again I am not for this and if it happens I hope it is years away just like I don’t want to see digital cameras replace side and rear view mirrors but I realize the trend in vehicles is to add more electronics which make the vehicles more complex with more things to go wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @jkross22 = Agreed. A “plate” or some sort of “number” could easily be assigned permanently to the vehicle like a serial number. If tracking for anti-theft is required that too could be tied to the vehicle.
      This is just another way to drain money from one’s bank account.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    This is a very very Good Use of our currently-limited supply of microchips.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Government..sometimes the source for solutions in search of problems!

  • avatar

    It will make easier for FBI, NSA and etc to figure out who was where at a certain date. America made a big progress since 1776.

  • avatar
    John R

    Hell. No.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    If my car were stuck in the sand or a snow drift could I use a digital license plate under one of my tire’s to gain traction?

  • avatar
    tsarcasm

    OR a .49cent piece of metal does all the same things, with no battery, and no monthly fee. WOW

  • avatar
    Undead Zed

    This is just the Juicero scam all over again; an entirely pointless smart device that’ll siphon data from your phone to sell to 3rd parties.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    WTF is the point of these?

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