Sacramento is the first city in the country to have digital license plates on some of the cars in its vehicle fleet.
The city of has agreed to pay $299 each for rear digital license plates on 24 electric city vehicles. Mayor Darrell Steinberg says it's a small price to pay to be the first in something high-tech.
"This is a great project in and of itself,” Steinberg says. “But, it's that larger message and the signal that we're sending out that when it comes to job creation around technology, innovation, alternative fuels, this is the place to locate. This is the place to build."
The city will also pay a $6.50 monthly fee per car. Steinberg says the plates’ ability to track mileage will allow the city a small cost savings.
Neville Boston is the CEO of Reviver Auto, which sells the plates. He says the company is in talks to open some sort of operation in Sacramento, but didn’t provide specifics.
Reviver Auto has been working to gain approval for digital plates since 2008 and began selling to the public June 1. The company says the plates are encrypted to prevent hacking, and drivers will have and the option to opt out of any government messages being posted on their plates.
In addition to displaying license information, the plates also provide the city a way to display mobile announcements during natural disasters or Amber Alerts while the vehicle is stopped. They could also display vanity plate options or automatically update when a car’s vehicle registration is renewed.
“We can do parking and tolling through the plate, specialty plates, cause plates, all of those things can happen on this platform," Boston says.
The DMV will still require a metal plate on the front of the vehicle with the month and year stickers.
The city has an additional 11 plates on order, which will be installed on the 11 new electric vehicles when they are delivered.