New vehicle license plates in Wisconsin will soon have 7 characters

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MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) anticipates new vehicle license plates with seven characters will be issued beginning mid-April.

Local DMVs and 3rd party vendors will continue to issue the 6-character plates until their inventory is exhausted.

Jeremy Krueger, supervisor, License Plate Issuance Unit stated the following in a news release:

“There’s been a lot of interest as we near the end of the alphabet and the license plate series. All of the number combinations have been used, and we needed to find a large range of plate numbers to use into the future.”

Krueger calculated that the additional character will yield 100 million combinations.

The combination on the current design reversed from letters to numbers (WRZ-999 to 123-ABC) in 2000. The new configuration will return three letters beginning with AAA- then followed by four numbers (AAA-1001). The plate artwork will stay the same.

Other notes:

  • Wisconsin plates have had a set format of six characters since 1986
  • Approximately 3.5 million vehicles have standard Wisconsin plates
  • The plates will continue to be made by Badger State Industries (BSI), the enterprise wing of the Department of Corrections
  • I, O and Q are not used because they resemble numbers
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