General Motors used to be the biggest car manufacturer in the world andÂ nowÂ the company isÂ taking steps towards becoming the biggest personal mobility brand of the future. Within the last two weeks, GM first invested $500 million into Lyft, a ride sharing company that rivals Uber and yesterday, the American firm scooped up assets including employees and intellectual property of Sidecar, another ride sharing service which shut down in December 2015.
Now, GM has just announced the inception of its brand new company named Maven that will be focussed on a car sharing service. The global Maven team consists of 40 personnel that have been recruited from both the ride sharing business as well as the connected car industry from brands that include Google, Zipcar and Sidecar.
Maven works on a car sharing platform that will allow customers to use cars for prices as low as $6 (or about Rs 400) per hour. The service works via an app whereby customers can search for cars by location and vehicle type and pick them up from pre-determined destinations. The small carsÂ can be hired forÂ $6 an hour or for $42 a day and customers can chose betweenÂ the Chevrolet Spark and a Volt hybrid vehicle. Someone looking for something larger can get a Chevrolet Malibu sedan for $8 an hour or $56 for the day. Even larger requirements can be met by the Chevy Tahoe SUV that goes for $12 an hour or $84 per day. Those are pretty competitive prices and work out to be considerably cheaper than from a car rental service like Hertz. The cars come with minimum mandatory insurance and even fuel is free so long as you return the car with at least a quarter tank of gas.
The remote app lets users remotely start the car upto 8 minutes before arrival to get the cabin temperature up to a comfortable setting. Once near, the app remote unlocks the car, allowing the user to get in and drive off. Users have access to plenty of features and services like Apple CarPlay, Sirius XM radio and GMâs OnStar service that provides a multitude of services like in-car WiFi, turn by turn navigation and more. Â Â
Maven isnât just someÂ programme slottedÂ for the future, the service has already begun toÂ operate out of the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan that has about 1Â lakhÂ citizens. GM Maven vehicles will initially be available at 21 locations across the city. The service will be aimed at students and faculty of the University of Michigan. GM says it will expand its services to other parts of the country starting this week.
âGM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility,â said GM President Dan Ammann. âWith the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalised mobility services our customers expect today and in the future.â Â
Earlier, while announcing the investment inÂ Lyft, Ammann said, “We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly.” Â Â Â
With Maven and its investments in Lyft and Sidecar, GM has a hand in both the ride-sharing business as well as the car-sharing industry, two areas that have shown huge popularity over the past couple of years and are only slated to grow further. It would appear that GM is cleverly investing in the trends that will be big in the auto industry before fully autonomous vehicles arrive in a comprehensive manner. And that could be well over ten years down the line. Â