Nose Cone with license plate window

Nose Cone with license plate window

Many of us hate the idea of messing with the car's aerodynamics by attaching a front license plate, but many states demands it.
Wouldn't it be nice, if Tesla saw a way to make the nose cone with an integrated window behind which we would install the license plates?

That way the front surface would remain continuous and the air stream uninterrupted. It could be done so the plate is mounted from below, or the whole transparent part could be a snap-in pane which clicks in after the plates have been attached.

It wouldn't do much for European plates, which are shaped differently, but as far as I know most US plates are about the same size. Or there could be a European and an American nose cone.

carlk | February 24, 2013

My observation here in the Bay Area is almost all Porsche and perhaps a quarter of BMW don't hang front plate. Cops usually don't pay too much attention to them even though they are very keen on expired tags.

craigi | February 24, 2013

CA law forbids installation of license plates behind a window or plastic or anything, really. When you see a car in CA with plastic covers on their plates, they're technically out of compliance.

hsadler | February 25, 2013


+1 Makes it hard for the speed and red light cameras

GeekEV | February 25, 2013

I like it though, nice idea / design...

jkirkebo | February 25, 2013

Same goes for Europe, illegal to have anything in front of the plate. You'll be stopped at once and ticketed if a cop sees it.

LA-Thing | February 25, 2013

Citroen SM has a window for the license plate. Still legal to drive in Europe, maybe because it's a classic.

brijam | February 25, 2013

Couldn't you still build a nose cone that had a recessed area for the plate instead of the current bolt-on version, that would be much better.

I see an aftermarket opportunity here. I would love to combine this with some kind of metal or painted version as I like the look of the nose cone, just not that it's made of plastic.

DouglasR | February 26, 2013

How about a nose cone that doubles as a rear projection screen? That way, you could project the license image onto it, and change that image as necessary (e.g., for bank robberies).

dborn | February 26, 2013

Great idea!!! Here in Australia, most people have a license plate frame supplied by the dealer (with the dealership name etc.) and which usually have a plastic cover. So, there should be no impediment to this idea. In fact, i proposed this a year or more ago on the forum. The simplest and best licence plate holder - mould a recess in the nose cone and have a plastic snap on cover maintaining the shape. Should be totally legal here. Also, A recess that accommodates the largest size plate with a number of holes pre moulded in (to suit the requirements of all markets served) hidden by any size plate, means that one size would indeed fit all, both in Australia and in Europe and also the USA. The front plate in New South Wales state (can't speak for the other states) is smaller than the rear, which is about the size of a standard USA plate.

Brian H | February 26, 2013

Make a hot press mold, and make your own depression for the plate?

JoeFee | February 26, 2013

Still butt ugly….I’ll take my chances without the front plate!

Earl and Nagin ... | February 28, 2013

There actually is a type of airfoil that would enable one to get almost the same benefit of a nosecone by simply putting an aeroboost(TM) frame around it with the right shape.
AeroVironment (inventor of the EV1, predecessor to the Tesla) developed the aeroboost in the early '70's as an attempt to reduce the aero drag in trucks. It was also used in a few experimental aircraft.
There is a picture of one in figure 14 on page 19 at:
A drawing with some explanation is in figure 4 of:
I suspect, however, that we Tesla owners wouldn't like it around our front license plates much better than truckers did since, IMHO, it doesn't look very nice even though it is quite efficient from an aerodynamic perspective.
If a lot of Tesla owners express interest here, I could probably get one of the designers of this shape to design an appropriate license plate frame with the correct shape for a license plate. After all, the particular aerodynamicist I'd ask is a Model S owner and former Roadster owner.

Dr. Bob Reinke | February 28, 2013

I mentioned in another string that a MS owning friend has experimented by driving his Tesla on his daily round trip commute. On alternate days he installs and removes his front plate. He is a very heavy foot driver and I bleive 80-85 are normal for him. He claims that installing the front plate costs him 5% to 7% range. Tesla owners need to get letters of complaint off to their DOT. Tesla needs to run their own test and if true---make their own noise.

Brian H | February 28, 2013

Next up: aerodynamic plate enclosures!

oystergrrl | March 2, 2013

Has anyone tried a different method of attaching the front plate lower? I hate to drill bolt holes in the nose. It's illegal in BC, Canada, to drive without a front plate unfortunately.

Mark Z | March 3, 2013

Is their any law against curving the plate? A Tesla aerodynamic license plate holder could be a first and allow the air to flow properly.

Rte66 | June 19, 2013

How About a License sticker ( vinyl )?

David70 | June 19, 2013

I'm going to go with printing a copy of my actual license plate on vinyl to try that out. Of course, there'll be a second layer of vinyl to protect that. I plan to leave it that way until a law enforcement officer tells me it's not legal. In the meantime, I'll keep the actual plate stored in the frunk.

Garth | June 19, 2013

@oystergrrl -- zip ties or j-bolts... those are the two drill-less mounting options -- JBolts lowers the plate a little, but also makes it stick out more --
Zip Ties can make it as it it were a normal mount, but with the only drilling being done on the plate holder plastic.

jjaeger | June 19, 2013

@Garth / others - interested in actual data or opinions re: which method is easier to attach/remove on an occasional basis. Have no plans to disfigure the front end of my MS, but do travel up to San Fransisco 2 or 3 times a year which I believe is when I am apt to pick up a ticket. Desire is to use one of the two drill-less mount options for these periodic trips. TIA.

Jeff and Randy | June 19, 2013

How about have the plate holder installed as usual on the nose cone piece, and get an extra one of those for the occasional times you want to swap between having the plate on and not having it on? The nose cone cover costs about $150 I was told, and lots of people on these forums have taken those off and put them back on to get to what's behind it.

I don't want to risk a ticket for not having the front plate so I decided to get the holder installed, but knowing that I can just get a new nose cone cover alleviated any concerns about the holes being drilled should I move to another state or want it off in the future for some reason.

Does mounting the plate lower, in front of the grill as done in the videos, help with the aerodynamics over having it on the nose cone?

Rte66 | June 20, 2013

I wrote my state representatives, and the acting head of the California DMV to allow:

1) Motorcycle sized front plates (7" x 4")
2) European sized plates
3) Official Vinyl plates - most aerodynamic

Option 1 should be the quickest to implement as long as you had a 7 Character or less License. No retooling, just update the ordering.

Option 3 would be easy except specifying visibility constraints.

Michael S | June 21, 2013

Traffic cops do not care about front plates in CA. However, meter maids in SF and West Hollywood love to hand out the ticket. SF is $114. West Hollywood is only $25.

California law sates that if one custom plate is lost or stolen or lost, it can be replaced. However, if BOTH are stolen or lost then the custom plate can never be used again.

The occasional parking tickets are worth keeping my custom plates (OILS NME), so I say "whatever".

Brian H | June 21, 2013

If you were suddenly deprived of everything you own or consume that derived from or depended on oil, you'd be sitting in a smallish pile of useless rubble, starving.

podavis | June 23, 2013

Seconding Jeff and Randy above. I was about to get the plate mounted after a parking ticket in Santa Monica. I think I drew extra attention from an expired meter as its free in SM even though the parking cop didn't bother to check for ZEV stickers. The service center was great and showed me how easy it was to swap the nose cone. One now stays in the frunk and I'll have the license plate out for parking meters or if I want to be sure not to get pulled over unnecessarily.

David70 | June 23, 2013

"If you were suddenly deprived of everything you own or consume that derived from or depended on oil, you'd be sitting in a smallish pile of useless rubble, starving."

Exactly Brian. That's why we shouldn't be wasting it by burning it in automobiles.

Brian H | June 23, 2013

Transport and freedom of movement are a major part of what it has permitted. "Wasting" assumes there are preferable uses. That may eventually be the case, but "preserving it for the future" is economic non-sense. Look up 'substitution' in a good text; it's what ALWAYS happens as tech advances and incentives increase.

Byong | June 25, 2013

Interesting idea to get an extra nosecone to put on when in an unfriendly parking area (meter maids in SFO for example). Does anyone know what an extra nosecone costs? Does anyone else think it's funny to call something on a car a nosecone :)

podavis | June 25, 2013

Nosecone is around $150.

buster88 | June 25, 2013

Unfortunately, in my neighborhood in Orange County, CA the local police make a regular habit of checking for the front plates, often on the only road I can use to exit my neighborhood. Both my wife and I were caught before installing the front plates, so not much choice for me, I have to install the front plate.

AmpedRealtor | June 25, 2013

Thank goodness front plates are not required here in Arizona…

AmpedRealtor | June 25, 2013

… which brings up a separate question. If my state does not require a front plate and I travel to a state that does (i.e., California), can I be ticketed in California for not having a front plate? Assuming I'm driving through the state or staying at a friend's house for a week or so. In Arizona I believe we are only issued a single plate, so I wouldn't have a 2nd plate even if I wanted one.

hademarco | June 25, 2013

I like the vinyl idea, how do you attach it?

GLO | June 25, 2013

I'm ignoring my front plate until they make me put it on...

Alex K | June 26, 2013

@ AmpedRealtor | JUNE 25, 2013: If my state does not require a front plate and I travel to a state that does (i.e., California), can I be ticketed in California for not having a front plate?
You will not be ticketed in another state for having one plate. There are certain automobile reciprocity laws regarding license plates and other items. For example, as an Arizona resident, you will also not be ticketed for driving with an Arizona driver's license in California. Vehicle tinting laws also fall under that category.

DR R | June 26, 2013

i installed the front plate lower than the nose cone using the zip-tie method....been fine for 3 months now....i also think it looks better...

bayrowet | February 3, 2015

Did anyone ever make aerodynamic front plates for CA, either by contouring then to fit the nose or vinyl decal or by creating a recessed window?

TaoJones | February 3, 2015

And, has anyone managed to make any headway at the DOT/legislative level(s) in order to make this onerous front plate requirement go away?

The State would save 50% in plate cost immediately while presumably not reducing plate fees a penny.

Red light cameras are going away for the most part.

Fastrak could care less from a billing/accounting perspective as long as you have a rear plate.

So what's the problem, he says, facetiously. Ever notice how much harder it is to get rid of crap statutes than it is to enact them?

shivasmith | February 3, 2015

Over in TMC I saw someone mention that they use 3M automotive tape to attach their (gently curved) plate to the nose cone.

2050project | February 4, 2015

There are a few different front license plate installation videos compiled here:

Solarwind | February 4, 2015

Somebody mentioned vinyl . would it be legal to take the plate to a vinyl wrap place, have it copied onto vinyl then have the nose cone wrapped ? My dumb state requires a front plate but to cheap to give a front registration sticker, rear only.