California Makes Digital License Plates a Legal Option for All Drivers

California Makes Digital License Plates a Legal Option for All Drivers
A Reviver California digital license plate and smartphone app. (Courtesy of Reviver)
Jason Blair

California will now allow digital license plates as a legal alternative to conventional plates. After a pilot program, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill last month making the option available to all residents and businesses across the state.

“The way that the government’s been set up, when it comes to compliance and dealing with your license plate, it’s usually kind of an arduous process. And our biggest thing is to simplify it,” Neville Boston told NTD News, a sister media of The Epoch Times.

Boston is the co-founder of Reviver, the only company that currently makes digital plates approved for use by the California DMV. Their digital plate is an e-ink bi-stable screen that is bluetooth enabled and has an LTE connection. It allows the owner to renew their registration without going to the DMV and also includes visual personalization options and safety features, according to Boston.

“We have safety and security alerts. Like, if your vehicle was stolen, you can actually put ‘STOLEN’ on the plate. Inclement, weather alerts and things like that. Our platform enables the ability for you to do that,” Boston said. “Also you have the ability to customize the plate. There’s probably about 1,000 different messages that you have access to. Happy birthday, I’m a Bruin, went to UC Berkeley, I’m a fan of whatever. Those are the kind of messages that you can put on the plate.”

A man installs a digital license plate. (Courtesy of Reviver)
A man installs a digital license plate. (Courtesy of Reviver)

Boston says that within about 30 days customers will be able to arrange towing through the plate. In 2023 they plan to integrate parking.

In addition to personal use, digital plates for business fleets are also available.

“We’re able to track your mileage, geofence, particular locations, be able to streamline your maintenance, and all kinds of other things through our platform.”

When asked about the security risks Boston said that the platform is more secure than an online banking session.

“We are more like Apple than Google,” Boston said. “People’s information is sacrosanct. And I would say that we are focused on making sure that the data that you have, you control. So with our GPS unit, you have the ability to turn it on and off so the user has control over that data and information.”

In addition to California, drivers in Michigan and Arizona also have the option for digital plates. In Texas they are available for commercial fleets and in Florida for government use.

Personal plates run $19.95 a month or about $215 if paid yearly with a four-year commitment. Commercial plates are $24.95 a month or $275 if paid yearly.