General Motors is kick-starting its own car-sharing service, Maven. You can say that the auto-company is opening up to the ‘Uberification’ that is happening across the globe. Looking at relevant events, it might be growing into a big firm in a few years. Its former mobility services, including car sharing programs in New York City and Germany, will be folded into the program.
How Does it Work?
The app-based service is a lot closer to Zipcar than it is to the Uber operational system. Although they all operate within the rideshare market, there’s a slight difference in mode of operation. When using Maven (just like in ZipCar), users can pick up a nearby car, use it for a trip, and drop it off when they’ve completed the ride.
Services and Pricing
The service was first made available to students and faculty at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. Chevrolet vehicles—Volts, Sparks, Malibus, and Tahoes filled 21 parking spots. Users were allowed to reserve cars through the Maven mobile app. As expected, sign up is free and you get charged as little as $8 an hour to use a car with insurance and gas duly covered.
Three sizes of car are available, from a small Chevrolet Volt that costs $8 an hour or $42 per day, to a large Tahoe that goes for $14 an hour or $84 a day.
The mobile app is the major business space; customers will be able to reserve cars through the Maven app. The interesting thing is that they can also start the car and unlock the door via smartphones. These cars will be pre-equipped with OnStar, Apple (AAPL) CarPlay and SiriusXM(SIRI) satellite radio, which will make users still able to live their preferred ‘digital lives’ in whatever car they rent. As Julia Steyn, GM’s head of urban mobility programs, said: “it is a truly personalized experience… You can take your life with you.”
Funding and Financials
As reported by Investment.com, “General Motors car-sharing debut follows its $500 million investment in Lyft and acquisition of the now-defunct Sidecar Technologies, for which it paid less than $39 million.” With all these investments, GM seems to be targeting a niche of its own in the rideshare industry. This may mean that they are hoping to build and put out different types of cars for their new endeavor.
With the stance of the mother-firm, it is not presumptuous to say that funding is not a problem for this new project. On the 21st of January 2016, GM’s shares rose from 0.4% to 29.55 in the stock market. For now there are no definite figures to quantify the amount of money put into the project, we can only deduce from the financial status of the mother-firm.
What’s in View?
Apparently, Maven is not in a bid to compete with any rideshare firm. Rather, GM is placing a bet on the future. Maven could be the foundation for the self-driving car network GM intends to build.
Recently GM introduced Chevy Bolt, the first mass-market electric car, beating Tesla to it . By anticipating the future of automobiles (also introducing cars that can be unlocked with smart phones), it’s safe to say Maven is a fraction of the main plan. In the foreseeable future, we will have cars that can speak and carry out instructions. Having a seat at the table when all these become a reality is the main stay for General Motors.
So far, GM’s hasn’t been the only automaker trying out other things. Ford has been rumoured to be working on something similar to Maven. Also, Audi, in November, launched a premium car sharing service in San Francisco and Miami.
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