With the increasing demand for more number plate combinations to cater for the increasing number of new vehicles on the road- the DVLA have had to introduce many new number plate styles over the years.
Mixing letters and numbers as oppose to just letters or just numbers- gives the DVLA many more multiples to offer.
With number plates now 7 characters in length as standard - The DVLA ensure many tens of millions of combinations will be available for issue.
At the time of writing there are 5 different types of number plate.
Beginning with A1 - the oldest number plate- dating from 1903. Dateless number plates began in a time when the car was in its infancy.
When Dateless number plates ended - the DVLA added a "suffix" character to the structure to increase the possible number of registrations.
A simple reversal of the Suffix format - prefix number plates have seen huge success thanks to the DVLA sale of Marks scheme.
With the end of prefix number plates; the DVLA introduced the entirely different "new style" number plates which display not only the year of registration but also the location.
Irish number plates have remained unchanged for many years- largely due to the lower number of vehicles which require them in Ireland.
When the "new style" or "current style" system ends the DVLA will have to once more introduce an entirely new number plate structure.
As there will always be a demand for identifying vehicles for the purposes of revenue collection and crime prevention- so too will there always be newer and more different number plate styles to accommodate.