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California DMV - Plates & HOV Stickers


R#129, TSLA shareholder

We've noticed that a couple of the Founders Series cars have similar-looking license plate numbers, as if they came from a block of plates acquired at the same time.

I'm wondering whether Tesla is streamlining the registration process somehow in general, or if this is just something unique to the Founders. The reason I ask is that you can't apply for the HOV-access sticker in California until you have your DMV-issued registration and your plates. So, I'm just hoping that the delay between getting the car and getting those stickers is as brief as possible. If Tesla has somehow shortened the registration side of things, then that would be grand.

Has anybody heard one way or the other?
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Seems like CA DMV has been batching plates to dealers for awhile. There are several other cars from the same dealer I bought my Lexus in my neighborhood that just several digits ahead of mine. I got my plates in days after I drove it off the lot. Years ago, it took a month or two before my plates arrived. I don't know how many they hand out at a time though. the current CA plates on the Founders started at 6USX000. Doubt they would get 1000 of them, but time will tell if see 6USX999.


Aug 20, 2006
Many dealers offer a service to register a car for you. On the other hand, many cars in CA leave the lot with no plates, and just a white piece of paper taped to the windshield saying that the car is new, and pending having you get the plates.

From what I saw with Roadster, a particular Tesla delivery center would get batches of around 5 plates in "sequence" at a time to put on a group of cars to be delivered. The Founders' Model S run seems to be the longest stretch of sequential plates I have seen them issue, so they may have made a special request to the DMV to get a large batch of plates issued since they knew they were going to have one big run of initial deliveries. We have seen that SigSpecial#1 also got one of these plates, so it wasn't just for Founders' only. Not sure how much longer they will keep doing this.
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Expert in Dunning-Kruger Effect!
Mar 24, 2011
San Diego, CA
If there were some way for Tesla to streamline the process of getting plates (and most importantly, stickers), I would happily pay a little extra for that service.

They do streamline the sticker process. Have a cheque for $8 when you take delivery and they'll arrange the rest. I don't know if there is anything that can be done to speed the process for the plates though.


I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
Columbia River Gorge
Since you cannot apply for the HOV lane sticker until you have your plate, I plan (this time) to apply for my plate BEFORE delivery, so that as soon as I have the Bill of Sale, I can fill out the HOV paperwork and mail it in.

One less delay. Of course, if you're of the opinion that 'there's no way in hell I'd put one of those ugly stickers on my car', all I can say is 'thanks for staying outta my lane!'.



I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
Columbia River Gorge
I thought I read that tesla delivers the car with plates and orders the sticker for you. I'll have to opt out of ugly sticker to make room for Bonnie!

A lot of people opt for personalized plates. Tesla doesn't handle that for you. They may apply for the HOV lane sticker for you, but they didn't for me.

If I remember correctly, Tesla filed my DMV paperwork for me. My non-personalized plates arrived about a week later. At that point I filed for my HOV lane stickers, with the required plate information. It took 'more than a month, less than two' before the stickers arrived.

It's very likely that this has now changed.


R #212 Twilight Blue
May 14, 2012
Santa Clara, CA
When I applied for the HOV lane stickers a few months ago, they arrived fairly quickly - within 1-2 weeks, as I recall. I bought the car used, so I could apply for the stickers based on the current plate, and apply for a personalized plate at the same time. The personalized plates took a full 12 weeks. If I had to choose, I'd choose to get the stickers faster, so I guess it worked out. :smile:


R#129, TSLA shareholder
My plates arrived by mail yesterday -- 11 days after I took delivery of the car.

Tesla filed the HOV sticker paperwork for me. I took delivery at the factory and they had it ready for me to sign and give them the $8 check. Those have not arrived yet and I was told that they had been taking up to 8 weeks (although fingers crossed that it will be quicker).

So now, a question: I have a buyer for my RAV4-EV, and it will be shipped shortly. I would like to transfer my personalized plate to the S. Is there any chance that transferring the plate will throw a wrench into the sticker process? I don't know if the stickers are tied to VIN or plate in their database, so I don't know if swapping the plate while the stickers are pending could cause trouble. I can always just reserve an interest in the personalized plates until my stickers come, then do the swap...


R#129, TSLA shareholder
I dropped by AAA this afternoon and it took about 5 minutes to get the personalized plates de-assigned from my RAV4 and standard plates handed to me across the counter. The very nice AAA person said that he thought that assigning my personalized plates to the S wouldn't mess up the sticker process, but since the plates are paid for through June, there was no harm in waiting until the stickers arrive to re-assign them either.

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