It’s well known that ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft disrupted the ground transportation industry, but there may be a new service emerging that could shake it up again.
Imagine renting a car, but for free. No really, that’s what a new car-sharing service called WaiveCar is offering. Now before we get into the details, do note that WaiveCar just kicked off a soft launch at Venice Beach and Santa Monica, California, and will continue to test out its service there for the next three months.
How can they offer a car to drive for free? It’s pretty simple actually — ads. Like taxicabs, WaiveCar will have ads on the top of their vehicles, presented using screens that offer both regular and geo-targeted ads, allowing for hyper-localized ad campaigns. The vehicles are also emission-free, 100-percent four-door electric cars — the Chevy Spark EV to be exact — according to CEO Isaac Deutsch, who spoke to Digital Trends. The cars have a range of 80 miles per charge, and you don’t need to worry about insurance as it’s also covered.
“It’s a win-win for everyone … we’re giving to the lower-income people that need cars, and we’re taking from the wealthy companies that need advertising,” Deutsch told us. “I like advertising … the short of it is that we’re waiving the fee for the community so everyone can drive for free.”
Okay, so the rides aren’t entirely free, as WaiveCar will charge you $6 per hour if your ride goes longer than two hours, but it’s still a really good deal if you need to get around town quickly in a short amount of time. In future updates, Deutsch says users can get rewards for dropping off the car at popular locations (something that is good for advertisers) and the rewards will come in the form of points. So should you ever want to drive around for more than two hours with WaiveCar, you can use your points to get the extra drive time for free.
You’ll be able to see all of your rewards and pick up cars through the WaiveCar app, available on iOS and Android devices. The company is planning to add different types of cars so you can choose the make and model through the app, and the app will show you exactly where to go to pick up the car. The company unlocks the car when users book it, and the keys are inside. When you’re done, the app will show you a place to drop the car off and will specifically highlight those reward-centric drop-off locations.
Deutsch said WaiveCar raised funding to get to where the firm is now, and has also received sponsorship support from Oscar Health Insurance Corporation, which, unsurprisingly, is also their biggest advertiser at the moment. He said WaiveCar is forming partnerships with other companies for more advertisements, but can’t announce any details at the moment.
Since the soft launch began on Monday, Deutsch says they’ve seen more than 75 bookings through WaiveCar with its small fleet of 20 electric cars. The next step is to expand the firm’s fleet to 200 and take over Los Angeles.