Michigan becomes third state to legalize digital license plates

Michigan is the third state to give the all-clear for digital license plates, following California in 2018 and Arizona in 2019. A California company called Reviver makes the RPlate and RPlate Pro for what it calls all three states. The company says 10 more states are in the process of approving the units.
We'll start with the purported benefits of a digital record. First, there's customization; The plate can be switched between light and dark mode and there is space at the bottom of the rectangle for a personalized banner message. Second, lightness; Renewal of registration can be done through the Reviver app. Third broadcasting; The sign can display public safety notices such as Amber Alerts. Fourth, tracking ability; The RPlate Pro contains GPS and telematics transponders so it can locate a vehicle - for example one that has been lost in a parking lot or one that has been stolen. Since the Pro version is tailored to fleets, the telematics transponder can also track mileage, for example.
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The price for all of this is, well, expensive. Both records require subscription plans, which are far more expensive than getting new stickers for a stupid piece of aluminum. Subscribers can purchase the battery-powered RPlate for $215.40 per year for a total of $861.60 for four years or $19.95 monthly for a total of $957.60 for four years. The RPlate Pro is wired to the vehicle, so after paying $150 for professional installation, a subscriber can save either $275.40 per year to $1,101.60 after four years, or $24.95 monthly for a total of $1,197.60 after four years. Subscribers should also know that prices are subject to change. When Car and Driver spoke to Reviver in 2020, a plan for the RPlate and its five-year swappable battery cost $861.60 for three years instead of four, but it was available for just $719 for four years with $499 upfront payment.
In the same conversation two years ago, co-founder Neville Boston told C/D, "You own the plate, but the message and the plate belong to the state. Think of it as a digital display until it's actually activated and deployed. and then it becomes a compliance tool." Speaking of which, if a Reviver license plate is not renewed on time, the license plate will display the message "INVALID" until the vehicle owner is caught up.
The plates are "available now in Woodbury, Garfield, Cascade, Ann Arbor, Benton, Laporte, Saginaw, Lockport, Novi, Belmont and Lansing". The state gets none of the extra money that Reviver plates cost over standard registration. However, certain car dealers do. Reviver's auto dealer affiliate program promises "significant revenue share opportunities from every record sale." So if you're wondering why a dealership is trying to snatch you out of the parking lot with a set of pixelated records, here's why.
Related: All 50 license plates, from best to Michigan

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