Lyft is eyeing car rentals for longer trips and weekends away

Now that it’s gone public, the pressure is on Lyft to deliver positive results to shareholders through revenue-generating schemes that take on rivals like Uber, which itself started trading on the stock market just last week.

Lyft is best known for its taxi-like ridesharing service, but in more recent times it’s diversified its efforts in a bid to become a multimodal transportation business that offers city folks not only on-demand car rides, but also short-term bike and scooter rentals.

Now the company is testing car rentals among a select group of customers in its home city of San Francisco. Spotted by Engadget and subsequently confirmed by Lyft, the app-based service offers vehicles for between one day and two weeks, with a single depot used for collection and return. These features set it apart from short-term carshare programs like Zipcar, and instead pit Lyft against more traditional firms such as Hertz.

Pricing has been set at $60 a day for a standard sedan and $100 a day for an SUV, though this could change depending on how the trial progresses. Customers are offered $20 discounts on Lyft rides to the rental depot, and extras such as bike racks and tire chains can be reserved for free. The service is using new cars and there’s no mileage limit during the rental period.

In comments confirming that it’s testing car rentals as part of its platform, the company said: “We’re constantly adding multimodal options so people can use Lyft for any kind of trip. We’ve added bikes, scooters, and public transit information into the app in cities across the country, and we’re currently testing a small-scale rental option for long-distance trips, like a weekend away.”

But the move into car rentals could be tricky for Lyft. Arch-rival Uber, for example, last year partnered with car-sharing service Getaround for a service called Uber Rent that let you hire cars from private owners. Testing for Uber Rent lasted seven months before Uber and Getaround decided to ditch it. While Lyft’s model is different from Uber Rent, such a service would nevertheless have plenty of competition to deal with in the car-rental space. It’s not currently clear how long Lyft intends to run the trial and whether it plans to launch a similar test program in other cities.

In the future, Lyft wants to run its car-based services using autonomous vehicles, but for now, it’s evidently keen to look at other ways to grow its business and fulfill its stated ambition to reduce car ownership.


Lyft’s wallet-friendly Shared Saver option arrives in six more U.S. cities

Lyft is expanding its wallet-friendly Shared Saver option to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle after launching it earlier this year in Denver, New York City, and San Jose.

Cover your risky riding with Voom’s A.I.-driven insurance for e-rides and drones

Voom wants to protect your assets. An outgrowth of drone insurance provider Skywatch, Voom covers user risks for short-term mobility platforms. Without insurance, an hour riding an e-scooter or piloting a drone could end in financial ruin.

Lyft’s new safety features include an in-app 911 panic button

In an effort to improve the safety of its ridesharing service, Lyft is rolling out several new safety measures that include an in-app panic button so riders can quickly and easily make an emergency call.

GM hits reverse with Maven carsharing as it closes service in eight cities

GM-owned Maven will close its carsharing service in 8 of the 17 North American cities where it currently operates. Competing with the likes of Zipcar and Car2Go, the app-based service offers car rental by the hour or day.

Parents will never miss soccer practice with BMW’s new 523-horsepower SUVs

BMW is launching M Performance versions of its biggest SUVs, the X5 and X7. While not full-on M models, they do pack 523-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engines, allowing both SUVs to sprint from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.

Don’t trust Tesla’s new autonomous lane-changing feature, Consumer Reports warns

Consumer Reports warns that last month's Autopilot updates that enabled automatic lane changing may put you at risk of a ticket or accident. Reaction times lagged what a human could do, testers say.

Texas awaits one signature to put a statewide stop to red light cameras

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs state House Bill 1631 into law, he will bring a halt to red light cameras in the state. The central issue in the bill's passage is the presumption of guilt of the registered owner of the car.

EV owners may still need to stop at a Chevron station, but not to buy gasoline

EVgo, the operator of a sizable network of electric car charging stations, has partnered with Chevron. Five Chevron stations located in California will install EVgo chargers that electric car owners can pay to use.

Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV tries to balance power and efficiency with mild-hybrid V8

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLE will get a V8 mild-hybrid powertrain when it launches in the United States later in 2019. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 483 hp on its own, but can also get a 21 hp electric boost.

Audi TT will get the ax to make way for electric cars — and the R8 may be next

Once a design leader, the Audi TT will meet its demise to make room in Audi's lineup for more electric cars. Audi executives confirmed plans to kill off the TT at the automaker's annual shareholder meeting.

Honda recalls 119,000 2019 CR-V crossovers over fears of airbag deployment

A manufacturing defect in select 2019 Honda CR-V crossovers could cause the airbag to malfunction and unexpectedly deploy, leading the automaker to recall some 137,000 vehicles worldwide, 118,598 of them in the U.S.

Cadillac confirms V-Series performance versions of the CT5 and CT4

Cadillac will unveil CT5-V and CT4-V sports sedans in Detroit May 30. They will be the latest cars in the General Motors luxury brand's V-Series performance line, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Watch Cruise Automation’s driverless car perform one of the trickiest maneuvers

Unprotected left turns in urban environments are one of the trickiest maneuvers a driver has to perform — and the same goes for self-driving cars. Autonomous-vehicle company Cruise Automation appears close to nailing it.

Leaf electric-car batteries can outlast vehicles by up to 12 years, Nissan claims

Nissan Leaf batteries have roughly twice the lifes pan of the cars they're installed in, according to an executive from the automaker. Nissan is investigating alternative uses for those batteries.