Michigan Only the last state to offer digital license plates

The idea of ​​a digital license plate seems so futuristic, it must be a fantasy as distant as flying cars. It may therefore come as a surprise that three states offer these digital plates, including the most recent adopted: Michigan. While these new plates add a touch of Silicon Valley to vehicles in Motor City — and, you know, the rest of Mitten — they also add new costs that go beyond the typical cost of registering your vehicle.

These digi-plates offer instant registration renewal, but also additional features such as the display of a “Stolen” notification, as well as small personalized messages. It can also track the vehicle it is attached to and can be disabled by the owner. When this data is enabled, Reviver claims that this and all data related to the plate is safe and secure, as no user data is contained within the plate and all data transmission over 4G and 5G cellular networks is fully encrypted. Even the way it’s mounted is said to be secure with ‘robust anti-theft features’ and tamper-proof, although for anyone dreading drilling holes in their bumpers for traditional plates, they might swoon at the thought of the robustness of these fasteners.

It’s also not free. Initially, the cost of the plates ranged from $499 for a battery-powered version to $599 for a hardwired version, with an additional $55 to $75 per year plus installation cost and, of course, maintenance costs. annual registration of your vehicle. However, Reviver now sells the plates for a monthly or annual fee in addition to your vehicle registration. The cost of the battery version is $19.95 per month for 48 months or you can pay $215.40 per year for four years. The hard-wired version that draws power directly from your vehicle costs $24.95 per month for 48 months or $275.40 per year for four years. That seems very steep, considering that a metal plate is included in the price of your registration in most states. Each state also sees none of this monthly revenue, at least according to Arizona’s wording of their digital license plate rules. Also keep in mind that this is a single plate, although Michigan is a single plate state that does not require front mounted tags.

Installation costs are also separate and range from – according to Reviver – $99 for the battery version to $150 for the hardwired version of Reviver Auto installation installations, and only on “standard vehicles”. A list of non-standard vehicles that are mostly exotic and a few European luxury cars is provided, but Reviver also notes that the list may change over time. Reviver does not list any installations, but says to contact them to schedule an installation request and that they will respond within “three business days”. Of course, you can install either version yourself, and Reviver includes step-by-step instructions on how to do that, although it sounds more complicated than, you know, a quadrant of screws.

But, hey, now the choice is yours in three states to use a standard metal rear plate or upgrade your vehicle to a digital plate and step into a fully digital future – and all the subscriptions that cost more in the long run.

Milton S. Rodgers