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Cali requires a Front License Plate...but there is no place to mount!!!

...Or is there? Sorry if this question has been answered before. I didn't find this topic after a quick scan of the forum.

Not sure about other states/countries but California issues 2 license plates and requires that both front and rear plates be properly displayed! I dropped by the Tesla showroom at Santana Row and the Tesla folks agreed with me that there is no place to mount a front license plate. They also indicated that the front grill work of the Model S Beta in the showroom are final production!

Seems like a silly thing to worry about but drilling holes in my new Sig S isn't something I'm looking forward to doing. I suspect Cali isn't the only state with this requirement. Right?

Again, if this is covered someplace else, just point me to the discussion. Note, I'm also worried that there could be a significant impact to the cars drag coefficient (Cd) and a resulting impact to mileage.

A lot of cars have this problem. Corvettes, Firebirds, my SLK, and even Tesla Roadsters.

Generally what's done is the car sold in a state with front plates is that a bracket is installed prior to delivery. You have to actually request that the bracket not be installed (as many Roadster owners have done) in order to avoid it.

Without the bracket, you can either go without a front plate, risking a "fix-it" ticket (after which you'll have to pay a shop to install the bracket), or you can use an alternate solution. There are companies that sell brackets that mount to the tow-hook threaded hole in the bumper.

I'm just going to have the bracket installed at the factory.

Washington State also requires a front plate, so it's a common problem that Tesla will need to solve.

On my first brand new car the salesperson looked out for me by stopping the crew that preps the new cars from drilling holes into my front bumper. This was in South Carolina where there are no front plate requirements, but apparently they still put the bracket up there for the dealership vanity plate. I'd have been a little miffed if they drilled holes in my front bumper to advertise, but I was really glad the sales person prevented that without my asking him to.

If I had to place a front plate on the car I would definitely look into a way to connect it without drilling holes. -- perhaps some kind of bracket or clamp that would wrap around the black plastic nose piece or some other part of the front bumper and a bit of foam padding between the bumper and the plate bracket to protect the finish.

With all the fuss about air resistance and efficiency, I'm surprised their isn't an inset with clear lens to cover the licsence plate. Does any car have this?

More or less the rest of the world requires front license plates. In fact, over here in Norway, you would be in more trouble from a missing front license plate than from a missing rear plate.

A bracket and front license plate is going to ruin the .22 drag coefficient i'm guessing.

I think @ThomasN has the right idea of a flush mounted solution.

I wonder if RFID (or some other technology) will replace the traditional license plate someday. I have 20/20 vision and its pretty damn difficult to read some rear license plates at highway speeds... i wonder if law enforcement is or will lobby for a more up to date identification scheme.

Front plates are required in my state as well, but I have found that it's not really enforced. I've been "ridin' dirty" for over three years. My guess is that, at least here, if you're nice, the officer won't bother you about it.

Massachusetts has a curious standard: if you have older plates (green on white), you only got one plate and so only need to display one; otherwise, you need front and back. Aside from the mandatory annual inspection, it won't be easy for a patrolman to notice the lack of a front plate here.

OK, y'know, I'm going to email Tesla about this again. I definitely do not want holes drilled in plastic and aluminum to mount a front license plate bracket and ruin the car's aerodynamics. But NY is a front license plate state too, and they enforce it....

They *should* make an alternate plastic front "black section" which has a flush-mount license plate location. It's been suggested repeatedly at this very forum. But will they?

@ncn
Please let us know what you find out.

On my to-be-replaced-by-Model-S vehicle, I'm using a bungy-attached license plate holder for the same reason.

I'd love to have something more professional for my S.

Not sure about other states/countries but California issues 2 license plates and requires that both front and rear plates be properly displayed! (jd3tm)

No way you'd get very far in Germany without properly mounted license plates both front and rear. As as far as I know that holds for entire Europe.

Again, if this is covered someplace else, just point me to the discussion. (jd3tm)

It is an obvious issue and it has been discussed a couple times, but to no avail so far. Now is definitely the right time to bug Tesla about this detail (again).

A bracket and front license plate is going to ruin the .22 drag coefficient i'm guessing. (ophthodawg)

That's my concern as well.

With all the fuss about air resistance and efficiency, I'm surprised their isn't an inset with clear lens to cover the licsence plate. Does any car have this? (ThomasN)

They *should* make an alternate plastic front "black section" which has a flush-mount license plate location. It's been suggested repeatedly at this very forum. But will they? (ncn)

I completely agree. Let's keep this question in mind until you next talk to your customer advocate. I expect that they will reveal their solution for this problem together with the final interior design, practically at the moment when they sell the first production car.

Covering the front license plate with a clear lens or anything else is very illegal in Norway and will earn you a hefty fine. I suspect it is the same in many other european countries. The reason is probably that a lens, however clear, plays havoc with the ability to photograph the license plate by speed cameras, automated toll booths etc.

Covering the front license plate with a clear lens or anything else is very illegal in Norway and will earn you a hefty fine.

Interesting -- it's common practice here in Massachusetts to have a clear, hard plastic cover over your plates. Otherwise, repeated washing wears off the reflective paint.

Add my vote for a clear lens section on the front nose-piece, at least in the US.

R.B. I think that it is illegal in the US too since the primary benefit of those lenses is to make it much harder to get a laser based speed measurement. The primary return for the laser "radar" measurement is the retro-reflective paint on the license plate. I am not sure if they ever enforce this though.

I am hoping that the nose that everyone hates is going to house the license plates, thuse reducing it's offensiveness! It does seem just about right for the really wide European plates.

I have lived in So Cal my whole life, and have never put on my front plate on any cars I have owned, and have never been cited for it. Sure it might give an officer a reason to pull you over, however, chances are, the officer is pulling you over for another reason (DUI check, etc).

It's also illegal to have front-side tinted windows; however, I do that too. I got pulled over a few months back coming out of a restaurant in NPB, and the office said he pulled me over because of my tinted windows, and then VERY QUICKLY asked if I had been drinking... after I follow his flashlight (eye check), he said... have a nice evening (nothing more about the windows).

Expensive cars are usually exempt from the minor infractions (in most cases), unless you appear REALLY suspicious, and or like to drink and drive, thus in that case, you might want to build a special mount-bracket for a front plate.

Yeah, use the SeaSucker mounts. :-D

Tiki, I've done the same in NorCal (no front plates) and have been cited, but only in conjunction with something else... ie: I pulled you over for going 85 in a 55 zone, so I'm going to give you a warning for that and a ticket for the missing front license plate. (so maybe it had some value there!)

@mycroft commented on license plate holders that mount in the screw hole for the tow hook. Has anyone used these?

I wish Tesla had told me of these before they drilled the holes to put the front license plate mount on my Roadster!

In NorCal, I've also driven with no front plates for many years like @rdgreene, and have never been pulled over or cited for it. Sounds like if you live in Cali, I wouldn't worry about it. I definitely don't intend to interfere with the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

@davidcjones, yes I have the aftermarket license plate holder that mounts on the tow hook screw. Works great.

Tesla asked me to sign a sheet of paper saying whether to drill and mount the plate holder or not. I said no, and it came with the plate holder in the trunk.

Incidentally, it's legal to use plate covers in Ontario as long as they don't affect readability with photo-radar, red light cameras, or electronic toll systems. I guess that leaves it up to the judgement of the police officer. The government actually sells "approved" covers, although they're a strange yellow tint and I've rarely seen them on cars.

The yellow tint increases the contrast between the letters and background

@Douglas3
Can you provide a link showing the aftermarket license plate holder you're using? In addition to exploring that option a bit on my own, I'll probably pass it along to Tesla to confirm it's compatible with the Model S.

@engl,
I live in San Jose, and drove without front plates for about 13 years, but (as someone else mentioned), I got pulled over for speeding this year. Instead of issuing the ticket for speeding, they let me off with a warning but issued a fix-it ticket for the missing front plate. I've read in the news that the police in this area have stepped up the fix-it tickets for front plates recently due to their increased use of photo-enforcement.

Although I added a new front plate to my current, aging vehicle, I don't plan to add a front plate to my S. I'm going to ride without one as long as possible. I like the idea about the mount that attaches to the tow hole. If I ever need to add a front plate, I'll probably use one of those to get me through the inspection, and then ditch it.

License plates front and rear are a mandatory requirement in every state in Australia. We all use clear plastic over plates often supplied by the selling dealership and incorporate the dealers name in the margin or frame of the cover. Accordingly, my vote goes for a dedicated recess, with blended clear plates cover to match the existent aerodynamics.

Do not park in the LAX main garages without front plates or you WILL get a ticket. It happened to us twice. We now have resorted to the Parking Spot or Wally Park due to this.

SC;
Did you do it the second time to see if they really meant it?

;D

Wow, that LAX enforcement officer needs to be working for the FBI! Talk about dedication and attention to detail!

Red Green recommends duct tape:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGM3-WiEZco&feature=player_embedded#!

For pretty much everything!

I live in northern California. The very first thing I do when I get a new car home is remove the bracket for the front license plate. In my opinion it just wrecks the whole look of the front of the car. So far I've received one fix it ticket, and was actually pulled over JUST for this issue (sitting in a metering lane on ramp).

WA also requires a front plate, but I've never been cited. But now that we've got license plate photo tolling, which started last week on the 520 bridge, that could be changing. And of course speed trap lights and red light cams. I'm starting to wonder why I haven't been stopped.


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