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pulled over by CA CHP today for no plates -- very odd interaction

heading north on 680 near Concord, going 62 mph, suddenly there's a CHP behind me with his red lights on. The first thing he said when he walked up is that he pulled me over for no plates. The car is obviously brand spanking new (2 weeks), with the temp reg sticker in the front window. Had to pull the sticker off the window, and when he inspected it, said it wasn't properly filled out, and wanted to see proof of ownership and insurance. And I'm thinking, WTF??? are you kidding me? I just got the F'n car! I don't have any of this stuff. I informed him that almost every insurance company automatically insures your new car for a period of 30 days. He says, what if you had an accident? I said, I'd call my wife, who has the insurance info in the other car. Then I remembered that I had a pdf of the Tesla Purchase Agreement on my iPhone, and when I mentioned that, he insisted on seeing it. After that he seemed somewhat mollified, handed my license and temp reg sticker back to me, and reminded me to be sure to put BOTH plates on the car when I get them, as he's aware that many Tesla owners are not mounting the front plates!!!

So, I can only conclude from this odd incident that the CHP, at least in Northern CA, are on some kind of mission to target Tesla owners who don't have front plates. Wasn't planning on mounting mine, but now I'm having serious 2nd thoughts.

i don't understand this objection to mounting the front license plate. Is it the law in your state? If so, then mount them. but don't feel indignant if a cop pulls you over for violating the law. It seems there's a lot of discussion about this topic on this forum. What am i missing here? Full disclosure: i live in MA and have mounted the front license plate.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Glad I rarely go to that area. I was pulled over in my Porsche a few years ago for speeding on 280 in San Jose . I did get a ticket but the CHP officer never even mentioned that I did not have front plate on my car.

I just got my vin and anticipate a March delivery. Here in CT we have to have a front plate as well, so my question is, does the car get delivered with a proper mounting bracket?

Insufficient sample size to assume that the CHP in Northern California is on a vendetta against drivers with no front plate. Based on the entirety of your interaction with that particular Chippie, his problem seems to be resentment of expensive cars in general, not specifically expensive cars without a front plate.

Yes, the car comes with the hardware necessary to mount the front plate, and Tesla even asks if you want it installed before delivery.

Especially after his issues with no plates on a brand new car. WTF?

I don't know any insurance company that covers a car for 30 days. In Texas there is a law requiring 3 days so if you buy a new car on Friday after business hours you are covered through Monday when you can add your new car.

Tesla required proof of insurance before they would allow me to take delivery. I took delivery on Sunday afternoon and added it to my insurance while dropping the car I traded in on Monday at lunch time.

We are allowed to drive on the temporary California tag for 30 days before having to Title, Register and pay sales tax.

But in Calif, insurance companies by practice will insure a newly purchased car for a good long while. 30 edays? Maybe . . . as long as your policy is current. Of course the CHP and all other agencies are well aware of that. The new-reg packet in the window is de-facto proof of insurance, since Tesla and all other sellers are required to validate coverage at time of sale. FWIW, I tried to insure my Model S the day of, but before I picked it up, armed with VIN, sales price etc., and they said to cool my jets and just let them know when I had it. No hurry, take your time, etc. Been true for every car I've bought here. Different states, different practices, I guess.

Ahh, I forgot to mention something, which only increases my suspicion: At the conclusion, I again questioned him why he would pull over an obviously new car for no plates, since at any given time, there must be tens of thousands of such cars on the road. He then said that a secondary reason was that I was approaching a toll plaza, and new cars without plates frequently go through without paying. Well, I'm not buying that one at all -- first of all, I was still at least 5 miles away from that toll plaza, and by the time he turned his lights on, I was already in the right-hand exit-only lane to get off the freeway. And what was he going to do? Cite me for suspicion of being in a position to not pay a toll? What a crock. I'll say it again: he was targeting Teslas.

@Dennis I don't know if it's a west coast thing or not but you rarely see a Porsche, Vette, M's, Z's or many ricer cars hang front plate here. I don't remember seeing any MS, yes I've seen quite a few, have front plate either. I guess it's just considered not cool for a performance car here, on the same level as the baby on board sign.

If you really hate front plates I think you can get a mechanized plate holder arm that can retract the plate out of sight under the car. I don't know the legality of such a device though, but it would seem better than simply not having a front plate.

At a Tesla gathering a few months back at the Menlo Park (California) Tesla show room, I did an informal count - about 6 (out of 100) Teslas had front license plates.

The delivery person in Fremont informed me, when I asked about it, that roughly 60% of CA owners do not mount the front plate. And as for Tesla supplying the h/w necessary to mount the plate --absolutely not true. They supply a plastic plate mount to which you can attach the plate itself, but no way to attach the plastic plate mount to the car. I even discussed it with them, and they said you have to drill holes in the nose cone, so clearly they were admitting there's no easy way to mount it.

And yes, I'm aware of the J-hook method of attaching to the plastic grill -- not convinced this doesn't cause an air-flow/cooling issue.

There are 5 or 6 different retractable plates. They are to retract while parked (standing and modeling) and for track racing. Unfortunately most people getting these say they plan on always leaving it hidden except when needing to prove to CHPs they have a front plate.

The front plate law is for identification while driving. Keeping it hidden while driving because it's not cool and then trying to convince the police it was there all the time and that they must have made a mistake is just childish.

The excuse that it needs to fold away or not be there at all for efficiency is totally bogus as they have post with and without wind drag tests on several other posts and the difference is hardly measurable.

I do not like cops. That is all.

To those that say it has no effect on the aerodynamics, perhaps it does. The car was designed and built in California, a state that requires a front plate like here in CT. Yet, there is no built in accommodation for a front plate, hmmmmmmm. The absence of a set place for a front plate would be more understanding on a foreign car. With that said, my 2 Mercedes have different front bumpers than from what they have in Europe, to accommodate a U.S. license plate.

I never understood the need for a front plate. When you get pulled over, the cop pulls in behind you anyways.

When mine arrives in March, I plan on running without the front plate for as long as I can. Esthetically the car looks so much better without the plate there.

If, when you finalize the car, you check 'install front plate holder' it comes mounted. Mine did. You don't have to do it yourself.

What is the difference between "confirm" and "finalize" and when does one do this?

In the Houston area front plates are required (other than one year when the legislators never got around to renewing the bill). I was uncertain on what to do about my car, so I just started observing the cars around me. I was surprised that there were so many vehicles without a front license plate - not only expensive cars, but pickups, SUVs and beat up economy cars. Based on this I did not install the front plate, but had Tesla send me everything I needed just in case. After almost a year, I've never had anyone mention it to me. I've heard on the TMC forums that occasionally it might get mentioned when pulled over for some other violation, and maybe one case where someone got pulled over specifically for no plate. Worst case you plead for forgiveness and install the plate. I saw one driver mention that he installed the plate, took pictures and went to court. The judge just charged him court costs and threw out the fine.

"And as for Tesla supplying the h/w necessary to mount the plate --absolutely not true. "
Not in my case - everything was there... nothing missing.

I checked the install front plate holder button yet mine was delivered without it installed. I was too excited to take the car home to have them fix it at delivery, so I'm waiting until my 1 yr service which is coming up in a few weeks.

You'll get a fix it ticket and no point. All you need to do is to take the car to any police stations after the plate is put back on. Or you could just pay the fine. Not a big deal.

@Kleist: so where/how is it mounted? Holes drilled through nose cone?

The TM front plate mounting bracket is secured by drilling holes in the nose cone. Others have mounted the factory bracket using zip ties or J-bolts secured to the lower grill mesh.

@ChopinBlues And yes, I'm aware of the J-hook method of attaching to the plastic grill -- not convinced this doesn't cause an air-flow/cooling issue.

What would convince you? Tesla said it's not an issue. Do you have information from a better source?

@ jtodtman: Just my gut feel. I wasn't aware that Tesla had officially condoned this method. Can you point me to the source?

Received a parking ticket on two separate occasions in San Francisco. Violation #V5200 Display License Plate $114.00. Not a fix ticket, an easy way to add some revenue to the coffers.

An added benefit of the front license plate bracket is if you bump a brick wall parking before you get used to the length of the front, you don't damage the nose cone.

mdtaylor69, in theory yes, but not really. Since the plate is secured to the bracket which itself is bolted to the plastic nose cone, it's going to crack/break if pushed in hard enough.

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