California Tests Kindle-ized License Plates

249

California drivers can now opt for e-paper license plates that display custom messages

That license plate frame sporting a dealership name, sports team logo, or your favorite superhero? That’s so last year.

This year, auto dealers in California will be able to go beyond personalized license plate frames to sell “Kindle-ized” license plates, in which the entire plate can display custom text and graphics using e-paper technology. These displays can be updated remotely, with such updates replacing the little date stickers that must be reapplied each year when registration is renewed.

And, when the car is stopped, drivers will also be able to reduce the license number to a small window and use the rest of the screen for a different graphic. (Though I’m not sure the people stopped behind a custom-plate-bearing car will notice; so many people take that opportunity to surreptitiously check their mobile phones.)

Reviver Auto is making the so-called Rplates, and they aren’t cheap—the plates are listed at US $700, plus an $8 a month subscription fee. The company is initially focused on marketing them to fleet managers, who are expected to use the displays for advertising messages, but expects early adopters to quickly jump on the technology, and other consumers to come on board as the company proves out the plates’ usefulness.