These Customizable Digital License Plates Will Be In 8 States By Year-End
An electronic display connected to your city's infrastructure and your personal smartphone can give you a dash of smart car while still driving your current car, starting at $499. Right now you have to live in California or Arizona, but six more states are coming within the year.
It sits on your rear bumper where you now have a metal or plastic rectangle imprinted with an identifying number, but Reviver Auto cofounder and chief executive Neville Boston doesn’t want you to call the Rplate a license plate. “This is a communications portal that happens to also be a license plate,” he said in a phone interview.
Boston was just off the annual tech mega-convention Consumer Electronics Show, where his product got a mention from USA Today in a roundup of some of the coolest ideas. The $499 price for the basic model Rplate Essential was mentioned as a reason to pause, just above a $600 pair of headphones in the list.
Those headphones don’t let you use your smartphone to skip a trip to the DMV, something many of us would pay hard cash to do.
And those headphones don’t upgrade an old car. “The beauty of our product is that it’s agnostic,” Boston said. “It isn’t tied to one particular vehicle, but allows you to have the same experience on all the vehicles you have.”
Translated from founder-speak to broke-commuter-speak, you can roll your beater and still feel like a bit of a boss. A bit. But the true boss features will cost you $799 for the higher level model, called the Rplate Pro. Beyond your initial purchase and your first year on the road, you'll pay $100 per year, or about $8.33 per month, for the smartphone-connected service that allows geofencing, LoJack-esque vehicle tracking in the event of theft, toll payment and more. Those are what you see in this video.
Finding and paying for parking via an in-app integration with aggregators similar to ParkMe will be available in the fourth quarter of this year.
Both versions of the plate are available direct sale, retail or as a dealer add-on.
Meeting an eager market took years of patient work with legislators and government agencies. The company was founded in 2009 and did not start selling a product until June 2018. Boston attributes his eventual victory to collaboration with agencies in the product design phase and making the case for cost savings even as his business model also threatens to cut fee revenue streams.
Not printing, processing, and mailing paperwork for California's roughly 35 million plates on the road saves money. The state also earns more revenue when its special interest plates can be ordered more easily and changed out more frequently.
Beyond California, Arizona, and the six unnamed additional U.S. states to launch within the year, Reviver will soon enter the United Arab Emirates. Boston declined to give specifics but said a Dubai announcement is coming.
The company has raised $25.5 million to date in seed and A rounds. Reviver will do a B round later this year.