As if taking a page from the Beetle’s “Drive My Car” song, General Motors has teamed up with RelayRides to offer the first nationwide peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace. Owners of idle GM vehicles can now rent it simply by using a smart phone and GM’s OnStar system.
Owners simply log onto their OnStar account online and click the car they want to list as available to rent. They then upload a picture of the car to the site. The owner sets the price, availability and any other terms. When the RelayRides’ renter selects the car and agrees to a time he/she arrives at the reserved car and telephones or texts the owner, and the owner unlocks it simply be making a phone call to OnStar.
Through OnStar’s proprietary application program interface, RelayRides developers were given access to key vehicle-centric features such as location and remote door lock and unlock. Depending on location and availability of the car, RelayRides marketplace participants can earn hundreds of dollars per month from their idle vehicles.
“Using the OnStar API to access GM vehicles empowers RelayRides to make car sharing even safer and more convenient,” said Shelby Clark, RelayRides founder and Chief Community Officer. “The sheer number of vehicles eligible for the program allows us to greatly expand across the U.S. and introduce the economic, environmental and community benefits of car sharing to regions that car sharing services have previously been unable to serve.”
RelayRides pioneered peer-to-peer car sharing when it launched in Boston in June 2010 and expanded into San Francisco later that year. In March 2012, RelayRides became the first service to launch nationwide, introducing a key-exchange program to enable renters and owners to enjoy the benefits of car sharing. Relay Rides provides all vehicle owners with a $1 million insurance policy for the duration of the rental and the renter is covered by a $300,000 policy.
Owners whose cars are not OnStar-enabled can still rent out their vehicles through the RelayRides’ marketplace by exchanging keys with the renter, or reactivating their OnStar subscriptions.
For more information, go to www.RelayRides.com.