CARS.COM — GM knows a whole lot about manufacturing and selling cars. Now the Detroit automaker is looking to become a car-sharing maven. GM today announced its new smartphone-operated car-sharing service, Maven, the automaker's attempt to get a foothold in the growing market currently populated by the likes of Zipcar and Enterprise CarShare.
Earlier this month, GM announced its half-billion-dollar investment in San Francisco-based ride-sharing company Lyft. The announcement included immediate plans for short-term car rentals with an expansion later into on-demand autonomous car sharing. According to the automaker, Maven combines and expands its multiple existing car-sharing programs under a single brand.
"Maven customers use its app to search for and reserve a vehicle by location or car type and unlock the vehicle with their smartphone," GM stated in a press release. "The app also enables remote functions such as starting, heating or cooling and more. Customers can bring their digital lives into the vehicle through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, SiriusXM radio and 4G LTE wireless."
As of this week, Maven will begin offering regional car-sharing services tailored for city, residential and peer-to-peer uses. The program launches in Ann Arbor, Mich., where GM vehicles will be available to 100,000 customers at 21 parking spaces across the city, initially focusing on faculty and students at the University of Michigan. More cities will be added later this year, with Chicago and New York up next, GM stated.
According to the Maven website, users can access vehicle functions on their smartphone 8 minutes before their reservation starts, start the engine and adjust the cabin climate to their liking. The car gets returned to the same place it was picked up with at least a quarter tank of gas, and the user just hits "end" in the app to complete their session. Insurance comes with the cost of the services, as does fuel via a free gas card found in the sun visor along with a six-digit PIN from the app.
Cars are available for sharing in three sizes: small, a Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric car or a Spark subcompact hatchback; medium, a Malibu sedan; and large, a Tahoe SUV. Prices are $6 an hour or $42 a day for small, $8 an hour or $56 a day for medium; and $12 an hour or $84 a day for large. Membership is free for a limited time by signing up at MavenDrive.com.