Due to increased new vehicle sales, the Ministry of Transport is adding a digit to Israeli vehicle license plates.
According to the Ministry, there will be no seven-digit numbers left within three years. The new longer numbers will go into effect starting in 2017. According to government statistics, some 240,000 new cars are imported into Israel each year.
The current “bank” of seven-digit license plate numbers is expected to run out within four years, meaning that at that point there will at least 10 million vehicles on Israel's roads.
Israel's population last September was 7,933,200. With eight-digit plates, it is expected that the country will have enough combinations to ensure that each vehicle imported in the next 50 years will have a unique ID number.
The Ministry of Transport has noted that it is the second biggest project since the Y2K bug project at the millennium changeover. It affects a long list of parties, including government ministries, Israel Police, banks, auto importers and leasing companies, local authorities, and others.
The project will probably cost hundreds of millions of shekels, with most of the costs being incurred in changing the information systems, which are currently based on seven-digit license numbers. A pilot of the transition to the new system will begin next year, with the aim being to commence the actual transition in January 2017.