Your last sentence says it all ... to keep the price down, they made it quite simple and 'bland' ... heard from a forum member whose new 'EL' plate was in the 900's so perhaps we'll pass 1K pretty soon --- the latest crop of EV's didn't really start making a dent until about half-way through the 200's getting assigned (most earlier ones were one-off conversions) so numbers are still relatively low compared to the west coast and other areas.
Oh come on that's really a stretch! The taxi and dealer plates are just as bland and ugly yet not nearly as cheap as the EV plates. They made these EV plates bland because some dumb-ss without any thought or creativity in the SOS office did so just because. How much would it have cost for a basic design for an EV plate, and to then manufacture them, like other states have done? Likely not millions and millions.... Certainly not an overly significant cost issue. Or perhaps it was a downstate GOP decision? ...Yeah we'll make an EV plate because the legislature ordered them produced, but we certainly don't have to make them desireable.... Typical Springfield infighting.
You would rather have a background of a belching coal fired power plant..or a reactor leaking radio active fluid into the rivers..or a fracking operation in the Dakota's wrecking the roads and ground water..or high voltage lines marching across the states..???
How about something "clean," like the plates we now have. Like the car..."No Emissions."
Personally, I like the EL plates. No BS graphics. Just clean. Black on white. Big letters. Easy to see and read. Love the EL. Hope they don't change it.
My 2 cents.