There’s a lot of talk these days about the “gig economy,” where freelance work will soon become the norm for a large segment of the population. But General Motors is doing more than just talking — it’s launching a new service aimed specifically at people who make their living one gig at a time.
Maven Gig is a new outgrowth of GM’s Maven mobility brand that is now up and running in San Diego, and will launch in San Francisco and Los Angeles later this year. It builds on previous Maven programs that offered low-cost car rentals to Lyft and Uber drivers. Maven Gig expands that concept by allowing drivers to use rented cars for multiple services, including Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, Instacart, and Roadie.
“The focus for Gig has been layering in complimentary services” that work with drivers’ schedules, Rachel Bhattacharya, director of Commercial Mobility Strategy for Maven, told Digital Trends. The goal is to provide drivers with more flexibility by allowing them to use one car for multiple services, allowing them to avoid, say, relying solely on ridesharing and its specific demands. No one wants to be stuck working the 2 a.m. bar exodus to pay rent.
The decision to create Maven Gig was based largely on renters’ requests to use cars for multiple services, Bhattacharya said. The rental programs for Uber and Lyft drivers prohibited this due to specific agreements GM made with both companies. In addition to the five companies named as partners, it may be possible to add other services, with the main issue being insurance, she said.
Maven Gig will launch with the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the electric car with a 238-mile range that Maven introduced to its Los Angeles-area ridesharing service earlier this year. Rentals are priced at $229 a week and include insurance (minus deductibles), maintenance, and charging at EVgo charging stations. The Bolt EV was chosen because of its lower operating costs, Bhattacharya said. Driver’s won’t have to pay for gas, after all.
“It’s also an opportunity for [drivers] to stand out a bit,” and possibly score higher ratings for driving a distinctive car with green credentials,” Bhattacharya said. She said Maven hasn’t had any real issues acclimating drivers to electric cars so far, and the brand does offer orientations on the basics of charging. Maven Gig may also add other models based on customer demand, she said.
Once the initial launch in San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles is complete, Maven Gig will also “definitely” roll out in other markets, Bhattacharya said, likely beginning with the East Coast. The main issue is charging infrastructure for Maven’s Bolt EVs. California has a fairly robust network of charging stations, but coverage is a bit spottier in other states.
Since launching in 2016, Maven has grown to serve 17 U.S. cities, and currently offers rentals to ride-sharing drivers in 11 of them: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
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