General Motors is penetrating the growing car-sharing market with Maven. The multinational corporation estimates that a huge portion of the population will continue to rent shared vehicles for many years to come.
Recently, GM acquired Sidecar, a provider of a similar service that closed right before 2016. Going ahead with the plans, the company unveiled Maven, which consists of over 40 experts from Google, Zipcar and, of course, Sidecar.
"Maven provides on-demand access, choice and ease of use. The right vehicle and right mobility service for the right trip at the right time. With more than 25 million customers around the world projected to use some form of shared mobility by 2020, Maven is a key element of our strategy to changing ownership models in the automotive industry," Julia Steyn, General Motors VP of urban mobility programs, says.
What this means is that a new competitor is about to hit the streets, rivaling big players such as Uber and Lyft. However, the question of how Maven will fare (no pun intended) against the others remains.
Maven will start off in one city: Ann Arbor, Michigan. GM has plans to extend its car-sharing services to other areas in the future, but it's going to focus on the staff and students of the University of Michigan first. As it's fairly new, it should come as no surprise that Uber and Lyft can currently accommodate more customers.
With no membership fee, Maven has an introductory rate of $6 per hour.
In comparison, Uber works more like a metered taxi, but if the vehicle is driving over 11 MPH, the price is determined based on distance. The service also features Surge Pricing, where the prices go up as the demand for drivers increase.
Meanwhile, Lyft is similar to Uber, and the pricing difference varies depending on the city. Just like Surge Pricing, it has Prime Time.
GM vehicles will be parked in 21 spots around the city, which riders will be able to unlock via their smartphones. The initial lineup is composed of Chevy Sparks, and Bolts will soon follow when they roll out in 2016.
As everyone knows, with Uber and Lyft, one can use an Android or iOS app to contact a driver and catch a ride, with the former also having a Windows app for rides.
Maven vehicles will have 4G LTE connectivity along with Android Auto, OnStar, Apple CarPlay and SiriusXM compatibility. Riders will be able to take complete control these of through the smartphone app, and do things such as start the car and change the temperature.
According to Steyn, the company's vision is to have "the passenger and customer to feel like it's your own vehicle."
On that note, GM is teaming up with Lyft to construct a fleet of driverless cars.
While Uber and Lyft provide an improved version of taxi rides and are definitely here to stay, Maven lets the rider hold the reins, offering a different take when it comes to ride-sharing services. It would be interesting to see how the new contender will pan out in the future.