General Motors isn’t wasting time expanding the Maven car sharing service. Shortly after announcing Maven’s expansion to Los Angeles, making a total of eight cities, Maven is now embarking on a 90-day pilot program in which Uber drivers can rent GM vehicles, according to Reuters.
The Uber rental program is only available to drivers in San Francisco during the test, but that’s usually how these test programs are carried out. Uber North American and Canadian regional general manager Rachel Holt said the program is only in San Francisco “for now.” If it works out, you can expect Maven will flip the switch to turn on the program in the other cities it serves, including Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. San Francisco is now the ninth Maven city.
Uber drivers will be able to rent new GM cars for $179 plus taxes and fees. Exactly what is meant by “fees” wasn’t disclosed, but Holt added that drivers who use the cars for personal use will not have to pay additional fees.
Lyft has a similar program with GM and Hertz called Express Drive. Spokespeople from both GM and Lyft said that the Express Drive program was similar to the Maven and Uber pilot test, with comparable prices. Lyft’s Sheila Bryson said, “It’s expected that vehicle access programs have multiple partners.”
General Motors, like Ford, Daimler, BMW, and Toyota, is exploring multiple paradigm-shifting mobility services. The individual car ownership model won’t disappear anytime soon, but ride sharing, ride-hailing, and car sharing are building blocks for the concept of “cars as a service” (CaaS).
In expanding to Los Angeles, GM noted that it saw the program as a way to make money while giving potential customers extended test rides. The cars in the L.A. program are new Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC vehicles, typically loaded with options so hourly Maven renters, who typically pay $6 to $8 per hours, get a look at and hands-on experience with the latest GM features. If the same types of vehicles are rented to Uber drivers in San Francisco both the drivers and their many passengers will be exposed to new, loaded GM cars.