The slick front end of an electric vehicle or a supercar is perfect for achieving efficiency, performance, and style, but often enough modern car design presents a nightmare scenario for anyone who lives in a state with front-mounted license plates—tacked-on eyesores many drivers opt to avoid, facing fines and penalties to keep the look of their ride clean of government-mandated tags. But some California residents no longer have to worry, as the State is now allowing sticker plate alternatives that don’t require drilling into your car’s bumper.
All the way back in 2014, the State of California passed a bill that sought alternatives to the traditional screw-on front license plates that often require mounting points that end up damaging the vehicle’s bumper, securing the metal plate with metal screws into the bodywork. None of that damage is necessary, and one of the most promising alternatives proposed under the State bill is a simple sticker, from LicensePlateWrap.com. So far, it’s the only company directly involved in government trial programs that deployed the license plate stickers out into the real-world, with apparently no issue.
As Jalopnik has highlighted, the initial trial program fitted 28 California Highway Patrol vehicles with the wrapped plates, and the trial program has now been extended to continue into 2023. It’s not just cops getting the plates, as the State DMV now allows anyone to upload their license and vehicle information to the License Plate Wrap website to secure their own sticker plate. You still need your license plate front and rear, and cops and cameras still need to be able to see the plate wraps easily, so they pretty much have to stick to the same place a standard plate would normally go.
There are eight different plate designs available, each identical to the standard metal plate equivalent designs California currently offers, including the all-black plate with gold lettering that’s popular. It takes four to six weeks of processing and shipping once you’ve submitted all of your information. The supplier recommends only applying the stickers to high-quality paint jobs—remember, license plates are temporary, and the plate wrap will need to be removed and replaced with an updated version one day.
If you’re like us, you’d be skeptical to trust that the cops pulling people over actually know about these license plate wraps, but the company promises Jalopnik that police confusion has not been an issue. Keep in mind, though, that it’s still a pilot program, which the State could choose to discontinue and no longer find suitable for the public. But for now, you’re good.
The company is looking to expand its offering in other states, but doesn’t seem to have convinced any other state DMVs just yet. The cost of the plate wrap is $85, but Jalopnik reports the California DMV will also charge you slightly higher registration fees.