GM Diversifies into Car-sharing

February 6, 2016

General Motors announced a car-sharing service called Maven on Jan 21, 2016. Initially it will be available in Ann Arbor, MI with additional cities to be added later.

Maven, a new car-sharing service by GM

Maven, a new car-sharing service by GM

Maven will be available at 21 parking lots around Ann Arbor focused around the University of Michigan. This service will compete with existing carsharing services like Zipcar and Car2Go. Zipcar is already available in Ann Arbor, with 20+ “pod” locations.

Zipcar is already available throughout Ann Arbor

Zipcar is already available throughout Ann Arbor

According to The Verge, Maven will differentiate itself from Zipcar and Car2Go by having no membership fee and a low rate of $6/hour. This compares with Zipcar’s Ann Arbor rates ranging from $5.50/hr for a Ford Fiesta to $10.50/hr for a Jeep Compass. Most of Zipcar’s Ann Arbor fleet is priced at $8.50 or $9.50 with a daily rate of $77/day.

Car2Go, while not in Ann Arbor, has a more interesting rate system: Users are encouraged to make one-way trips and can park the car on the street within a very large area of most cities. They offer a per-minute rate of $0.41/minute which automatically converts to an hourly rate of $14.99/hr and $84.99/day. While more expensive than zipcar, Car2Go’s model doesn’t require users to specify in advance how long they will be gone, and so doesn’t have any late fees or “time anxiety” associated with other reservation-based systems like ZipCar. In addition, it encourages users to minimize their travel time and make their cars available to other Car2Go users while parked – users don’t need to pay for the time a vehicle spends parked at their destination if they are willing to potentially use a different vehicle for their return trip.

Maven will be a showcase for GM’s latest technology, it will be comprised of Chevy Spark and Chevy Bolts equipped with 4G connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SiriusXM. This emphasis on in-vehicle media should be received well by the millennial demographic that GM is going after with Maven.

All cars on Maven will have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SiriusXM

All cars on Maven will have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SiriusXM

GM is not the first car company to offer car-sharing. BMW has Drive Now, which is available in many German cities and was available in San Francisco until it shuttered in late 2015.

Audi offers an extremely high-end car-sharing service Audi On Demand in San Francisco. Users can request any Audi model to be delivered to their door from the Audi A4 at $155/day up to the R8 Spyder at $1285/day. Apart from users looking to test out a vehicle or impress someone for the day, Audi’s offering doesn’t represent a feasible mobility option for most people.

Ford is still clinging to the individual car-ownership model with their recent announcement of group leasing for private “car-sharing” among 6 friends. This still assumes user will want to own and maintain a car and that only one user at a time will want them.

Maven isn’t GM’s only recent foray into non-car-owning mobility, they recently launched “Lets Drive NYC” – a car-sharing service restricted to residents of New York’s Ritz Plaza, a 479-unit luxury apartment building at Times Square. Additionally, they acquired the remnants of failed ridesharing startup Sidecar and made a $500 million investment in Lyft.