California Auto-tech Start-Up Revives the 100-Year Old License Plate

February 22, 2024

This image is for the blog post that talks about Reviver and the RPLATE.

We want to present an exciting article recently featured in The San Francisco Standard. The article focuses on both Reviver’s origins and what’s in store for the future. Reviver has come a long way, evolving from offering its customers the ability to renew their vehicle registration through the Reviver app to personalizing their banner messages. The recent addition of adding emojis allows customers to give their RPLATE that fun, personal touch. 

Join us as we dive into Reviver’s roadmap of upcoming state launches, product enhancements, and exciting new features. Most importantly, its potential to reshape the landscape of the automotive world.

We hope you enjoy reading this blog post!

Vanity plate? More like “vanity late.” There’s a new way to put personality on your bumper.

Digital license plates now let motorists put custom messages on them—with emojis to boot. Tech-savvy owners of nearly 29,000 vehicles have digital license plates as of Feb. 1, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. They’re particularly popular with Tesla drivers.

Digital license plates are at the forefront of the California Department of Motor Vehicle’s digital transformation. In recent years, the agency has sought to shed its hidebound reputation and embrace initiatives including digital driver’s licenses, an AI-based document verification process for Real IDs, voice-augmented access to the DMV’s website and AI-based remote proctoring for driver tests.

The department has also been courting vendors and partners to offer new services such as remote driver tests, chatbots and mobile registration services for temporary permits and registration stickers.

The digital plates are manufactured and sold by Reviver, a Granite Bay company with 61 employees. Only allowed on rear bumpers, each plate costs $599 and features a five-year battery life, weatherproof display, digital registration renewal, Bluetooth and national LTE connectivity and vehicle recovery support. Customers can purchase three different service plans for the battery and wired RPLATE: Essential, Plus, and Premium. The battery-powered RPLATE service plans range from $35, $75, and $125, and the wired RPLATE service plans range from $35, $95, and $145.

Reviver’s RPLATE allows motorists to put emojis on their license plates. | Source: Courtesy Harry Dhaliwal, Marketing Manager 

Neville Boston, Reviver’s founder and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), had the idea for digital plates 15 years ago after hearing a friend’s complaint over having to go to the DMV and wait in line for registration tags. Boston, whose background was in marketing, immediately began fundraising, developing prototypes and talking to DMV officials. 

In 2013, lawmakers authorized a pilot program to allow the DMV to experiment with alternatives to conventional license plates, stickers, tabs and registration cards. The DMV worked with Reviver and law enforcement agencies to ensure customer information and privacy are protected, according to a spokesperson. 

In 2022, the legislature passed AB 984 to legalize the pilot programs. Not every upgrade approved under the pilot program is high-tech. For instance, the DMV now offers drivers sticker-like front license plates under the same modernization program.

“Non-traditional license plates are just one way the DMV is modernizing and digitizing its services,” the DMV said in a statement. “Californians will have more options when conducting their business with the DMV in a way that works best for them.” With no competitors, Reviver is “competing with ourselves to launch in all these different states and continually refine and improve the product,” said Edee Gonzalez, the firm’s Vice President of Marketing.

The plates are legal for motorists and commercial fleet customers to purchase in three states—California, Arizona and Michigan—and only in Texas for commercial fleet customers. The company is advocating for adoption in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Ohio, Maryland and North Carolina.

Gonzalez said the company anticipates Colorado, Illinois and Georgia will allow the plates in the first half of 2024.

Reviver has an app that lets motorists renew their registration. In the future, the company believes the plates could be integrated with parking systems, digital wallets, vehicle safety recalls, toll systems and more.

Theft of standard license plates is a common problem, with criminals often stealing the tin tags to use on other vehicles while engaging in illegal activity. Reviver said if one of its plates is removed from its original vehicle, the digital plate will read “detached” across the bottom, making it clear it has been stolen.

The annual ritual of carefully placing colorful registration stickers on your vehicle license plates may be in the rearview.

This blog post is a republished version of an article written by Alexander Mullaney and published in The San Francisco Standard on February 19th, 2024. The original can be found here