The General Motor has partnered with Lyft in building the self driving cars and the company has invested five hundred million in the ridesharing company. The company recently formed a short term partnership with Uber by allowing its drivers to rent the cars for official or personal use. In the testing phase for ninety days the drivers can rent the car for one hundred and seventy nine dollars weekly along the fees and taxes, including insurance and miles.
The online company has already started the rental program for the drivers since 2013; however this rental program is the latest one form the company. The rival ridesharing company Lyft, also has a car rental program called the Express Drive that offers rental cars for its drivers provided by the General Motors. The pilot program with Uber is for ninety days, but the end date for the Express Drive is not announced and the car hailing company charges for the personal use unless the driver partner gives sixty five or more rides in one week, when the rental is cost is waived.
This new short term partnership raised questions about the existing partnership with Lyft and also about shifting the allegiance, but all the 3 companies in the triangle denied the question. The spokesperson of Lyft informed that the vehicle access programs normally have multiple partners and this is relationship is not related to the self driving program. The Spokesperson of General Motors also said that the new program with the ridesharing giant is not related to investment in Lyft and that it will protect the partnership details from the other partners. She also said that the new pilot program is the commercial undertaking of the company’s mobility service to give the drivers flexible option to access cars.
Pushing beyond the roots
The General Motors offers a new mobility service called the Maven and it connects all the people from different communities and cities with the innovative mobility service that is designed according to the needs of the passengers. The service offers smart and flexible mobility service in new cars and they also offer best price for the ride. Unlike the ridesharing service, the users can pick up a car they wish to ride and they can drop the car at the same location where they picked it and press the end button in the app after the completion of the ride.
The declination in the private ownership of cars has threatened the core business of the automakers that they have started investing in the car hailing services. There are many other automakers like Toyota, Ford and Daimler maker of Mercedes Benz are investing in the different car hailing programs. According to the survey report, the carmakers have sold seventeen million trucks and cars in the United States last year, however they are looking for some new businesses beyond the traditional business to sustain in the market and earn money.
The personal mobility brand
Maven is a mobility service that offers three services under a single package, like the peer to peer sharing service that was launched last year in Germany, city based program that rents General Motor vehicles through the app and the service for the urban flat dwellers in New York City and Chicago. The mobility service is an experimental subsidiary of the automaker in creating the commercial business. And it also proves that it is far more than the car2gi or Zipcar and extends beyond the direct to consumer model, to become the business to consumer model.
How things work
This is an app based service with which the user can search for the vehicle, book the vehicle, to unlock the door and to start the car, heat or cool the car remotely. All the vehicles under the General Motor are equipped with the Android Auto, Apple and CarPlay- a software program that allows the users to integrate the dashboard of the vehicle with the user’s mobile phone. Apart from this, the vehicle has other advanced features like the 4G LTE wireless, OnStar- the inbuilt communication system and the SiriusXM radio.
The initial program will start in Ann Arbor in Michigan with twenty one vehicles. The service is available for everyone in the city, but their main targets are the students and faculty from the Michigan University. The users can rent a plug-in electric hybrid Chevy Volt or Chevy Spark for six dollars per hour for traveling. And for twelve dollars an hour the user can rent the Chevy Malibu and Chevy Tahoe. The company has designated some parking lots where the users can park the vehicle at the end of the ride.
The company does not charge any membership fee and the fares are cheaper than its competitors, for example cargo charges forty one cents for one minute or with the onetime sign up for thirty five dollars or $14.99 per hour. But depending on the size of the vehicle and the market dynamics, the company’s low pricing might change. Later this year, the company has plans to produce an all electric Chevy Bolt and it also expanded the rental program in the New York City for the benefit of the apartment dwellers. Earlier the program was called the Let’s Drive NYC, gives the people staying in the Stonehenge Partners property an access to vehicles and designated parking lots.
A program similar to this was also conducted in Chicago by partnering with the Magellan Development group, and by the end of this year, the service will be available for five thousand residents and the cost of the rental vehicle for an hour is nine dollars. The automaker has plans to test the rental program in other parts of the United States and in other countries like China and Germany.
One of the unique features in the Maven app is that the users need not use a key to open the car door, instead they can the feature of the app which is seamlessly connected to the user’s phone. They simply have to tap the unlock key on the mobile app as they approach the car and they will be able to unlock the doors.
Other competitors in the market
With the massive growth and popularity of the car hailing market, many startup companies and the companies from the automobile industry are competing with each other for consumers. Some of the companies like Daimler, Getaround, Ford, Silvercar, BMW, Turo and Audi are either operating commercial service or they are testing the car hailing service. Among these services, the car3go service from Daimler is one of the largest services that operate in twenty nine cities around the world and it has about one million registered users.
The car hailing joint venture between Sixt SE and the BMW called the DriveNow operates in many cities in Vienna, Germany and London. The service operated in only one United States city- San Francisco, but was closed the operation because of the parking issue in the city. A concierge style car hailing service was started by Audi in San Francisco and expanded the pilot program to the luxury market in Miami that provides a vehicle for all the residents of the grandeur condominium developments. GoDrive is the car sharing service program started by Ford and it is testing its pilot program in London.
Anand Rajendran is the CEO and Co-Founder of Gacie, one of the best mobile app development firms in Chennai. He is also associated with digital marketing industry who offers internet marketing solutions to various business firms. Rideyo, a mobile app that is built with Uber clone script enables taxi owners to manage their business easily from anywhere.