General Motors' Maven Launches Peer-to-Peer Car-Sharing Service
【Summary】With its new peer-to-peer car sharing service, Maven is allowing owners to make some money off of their cars when they’re not being used.
For a traditional automaker, General Motors has embraced a future where electric vehicles and car-sharing service dominate. GM announced Maven, its car-sharing service, in January 2016. Maven's mission from the outset was simple: provide users with a personalized, on-demand way to get around.
Now, Maven is looking to take the next step in giving users an even more personalized service with the addition of a peer-to-peer car-sharing service program.
Maven's new option is currently only available in Detroit, Chicago, and Ann Arbor, Mich. It allows owners of 2015 model year or newer Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, or GMC vehicles to rent their cars out to Maven's users when they're not being used. Think along the same lines as Airbnb, but with cars.
Maven Looks To Meet Increasing Demand
The introduction of the new program is a way for Maven to meet the increasing demand of car sharing. "You see the willingness for the Airbnb members to put their house on the platform," Julia Steyn, vice president of GM Urban Mobility and Maven, told the Detroit Free Press. "I think it's a lot less personal and emotional to put a car on the platform than your own bed."
Steyn has a point, as a car is the one of the more expensive things an individual purchases. And for the most part, an automobile sits idly by for the majority of the day.
While automobile owners may be a little hesitant to put their car on Maven's website for strangers to drive, GM has some reassuring points. All vehicles will be insured through the automaker's $1 million insurance policy. Every user of Maven's program is also "thoroughly vetted" before they're approved to use the service. If that's not comforting enough, owner support will be available all day everyday through Maven's and OnStar's advisors.
For Maven's users, things won't look to different on their app. "Peer Cars," as they're being called, will be available alongside Maven's regular fleet of automobiles. Choosing one of the Peer Cars is also similar to how a user would pick out another vehicle through the app. Users will open the Maven app, select a vehicle that matches the price they want to pay, go to the vehicle's location, unlock the car's doors with their smartphone, and drive away.
The only difference between one of the Peer Cars and one of Maven's vehicles is a Peer Icon that will appear in the app. Besides that, there's no difference. The good thing about the program, is that owners and renters won't have to meet to exchange keys, Steyn points out.
How The New Peer-To-Peer Service Works
In order for an owner to get their vehicle onto Maven's app, they'll have to go through a relatively simple process. Owners fill out an application, which includes sending Maven the VIN – that's done to allow the company to verify if the vehicle is a 2015 model year or newer. With the application completed, Maven will send a professional out to take pictures of the vehicle and install the necessary hardware to allow a smartphone to open the vehicle.
Once the vehicle is available to rent through Maven's app, owners have the say on how or when they put their car on the platform. Peer Cars will be priced differently from Maven's regular fleet of cars. The Detroit Free Press claims that Peer Cars will be approximately 20 percent higher or lower in price than the company's regular fleet of cars.
"It's not really competing with Maven's rentals, it's an opportunity to offer more supply for the demand we're seeing," said Steyn. "We're excited to see more cars on the platform."
Apparently, the new program is already working. The outlet claims that Maven's number of available offerings in downtown Detroit increased "significantly" after the introduction of the peer-to-peer service. Maven, as the Detroit Free Press states, currently has 50 cars on offer. If 20 owners put their vehicle up for rent through Maven, that represents a 40 percent increase in vehicle inventory, said Steyn.
Owners will get paid, obviously, to allow strangers to use them. Maven's site claims that owners will earn 60 percent from each rental. The company states that owners could earn anywhere from $533 to $1,607 if they rent their car out seven days a month. The first figure of $533 refers to a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze, while $1,607 is an estimate for an owner of a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. If you have a 2017 GMC Sierra, Maven states that you could make $1,035 for putting it up for rent for a full week out of a month.
Payouts happen once a month, while funds are deposited directly into a bank account.
What's Next For Maven?
The peer-to-peer service is in its beta stage, which is why it's only available in three cities. Maven's team will analyze the data it gathers from the Peer Cars' test group and, if the demand is there, will expand the service to more cities in the United States later this fall.
"We're testing Peer," said Annalisa Bluhm, a GM spokeswoman. "The Beta helps us better understand the owner part of the equation – what do they need, how do they like to be engaged, does the app meet their needs, etc. It's very much an important and necessary learning process ahead of full commercialization."
Car-sharing services like Turo, Zipcar, and Car2go have become more popular recently, as individuals are moving away from traditional automobile ownership. These programs, though, as The Drive points out, have had issues getting set up. Turo, for example, ran into issues with the City of San Francisco and other rental companies in Utah. Maven could face some opposition, which the outlet states could come from competitors or regulators. Steyn told the outlet that Maven didn't encounter any regulatory issues in setting up its beta test.
Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
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