Oct 10

GM partners on ground floor opportunity with RelayRides carsharing

 

Do you want a Volt in your life, but all the expense, liability and maintenance that come along with buying or leasing one seems just a bit too 20th century?

Well lucky for you, in the midst of exploring all sorts of other paradigm-changing initiatives, GM is jumping on the carsharing bandwagon with Volts and other OnStar enabled GM vehicles.

The program due to begin early next year will allow GM vehicle owners to rent them to others by the hour in what is touted as a mutually beneficial arrangement.


Carsharing could be another avenue to get more people to experience the Volt.

GM’s “exclusive relationship” with RelayRides announced last week will initially be in Boston and San Francisco, but intentions are for nationwide service as market demand proves it feasible.

“We’re using technology to make both our older and newest models carshare ready and available for those owners who choose to participate in carsharing,” said Stephen Girsky, GM vice chairman. “Our goal is to find ways to broaden our customer reach, reduce traffic congestion in America’s largest cities and address urban mobility concerns.”

The way it works is someone with an OnStar equipped GM vehicle that doesn’t get a lot of use, or isn’t being used for what ever reason, can put it up for rent on RelayRide’s Web site. Vehicles not equipped with OnStar can also participate with a device installed by RelayRides.

The owner can then name the vehicle’s hourly rental price – estimated between $5-12 per hour, with all-day reservations starting at $55 and including 160 miles of driving and free gas.

Customers can look for vehicles, make reservations or check future reservations through a smart phone application. They can also locate their reserved vehicle via GPS and lock and unlock the vehicle all through their smart phone – with rules applying, of course.

RelayRides gets some support from Google Ventures and helps makes a case for its business model by saying a vehicle owner could collect $2,300-$7,400 annually.

The company figures savings are substantial for renters too. A chart on its Web site indicates the average expense of car ownership per month is $715 but renting a car as needed is just $100.

Obviously the actual buy versus rent discrepancy depends on the kind of vehicle owned compared to amount of rental time accrued, and other factors would need to be considered as well to determine if it really makes sense for you.

This said, RelayRides apparently has its system pretty well worked out, judging by explanations on its Web site and the fact that GM endorses it.


GM created a graphic of its own to explain how the deal works.

Rentals include a $1,000,000 insurance policy with a $500 deductible – which can be reduced to $250 or $0 via a program requiring renters pay $50 or $75 per year respectively.

“RelayRides has always worked toward providing the safest, most advanced, peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace, where neighbors can help out one another by making their frequently unused car available to those who live nearby,” said RelayRides CEO André Haddad.

Although Haddad speaks of what has “always” been, it should be noted that RelayRides was founded in June 2010.

But according to Innovative Mobility Research, GM notes, “carsharing in North America has grown from 400,000 users in 2009 to 640,000 in July 2011.”

GM further observes that a study from Frost & Sullivan projects carsharing will have an estimated 4.4 million users by 2016.

Would you participate?

We’re pretty sure plenty of people would be willing to rent a Volt to drive this way from time to time, however, assuming it were available in your area, would any of you Volt owners offer your Volt for share?

From what we’ve seen, most Volt owners use them as primary vehicles, but RelayRides has made the Volt the poster child of this new initiative indicating Volts ought to become available.

Of course all GM vehicles are eligible, so what do you think? Is GM onto something here?

GM, RelayRides

This entry was posted on Monday, October 10th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 30


  1. 1
    BoultVolt

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (6:31 am)

    Love my volt, and give lots of test drives. Don’t think I’d ever rent it to anyone other than a close friend. Maybe in 10 years after its a but seasoned.. but not now. The time to manage the sharing and inconvenience if it was damaged or late would outweigh the financial returns.
    But I’m not normal, I have a condo at a ski resort and don’t rent that either.

    But setting it up could be low cost so not much for GM to loose as I’d expect there are others that would share. And who knows maybe it would cover ongoing costs of OnStar after year 5.


  2. 2
    Raymondjram

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (6:37 am)

    I don’t have a Volt yet, so I cannot participate as a renter. And no Volts exists in Puerto Rico so I cannot rent. So now it is a lose-lose situation for me!

    But if I had my Volt, and I was retired such that I would not need to drive the Volt every day, I believe I could rent it out several days a week to recover the purchase.

    Raymond


  3. 3
    Sean

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (6:40 am)

    (click to show comment)


  4. 4
    ziv

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (7:35 am)

    I live in Northern Virginia in a jurisdiction that has encouraged relatively high density construction along the Orange Line metro while limiting the amount of parking, so RelayRides could find a niche here. We do have Zip Cars in several locations and they are pretty popular, but I would bet that this service would complement Zip Cars if they can figure out a way to get the RelayRide renter into the secure underground garages where most of the cars along the Orange Line would be parked. I am not sure the newer condos would be on board with this, and the condos are where a lot of these cars will be parked. Great idea for those of us that have above ground parking in older condos, though. Condos all over the area are already looking into getting Coulomb chargers, and this would dovetail with getting those chargers. My condo is thinking about getting one charger to start, and putting it in the least accessible spot in the lot to keep the other owners from complaining about favoritism, which is cool.
    In some areas, I could see Volt and Leaf owners especially being able to use the vehicles cachet to cover most if not all of their payments if they don’t use their cars to get for their own commutes. At $12 an hour and the average person using the car for 2 to 3 hours, a base model Volt owner would only need 12 or 13 rentals per month to come close to covering their payment. Heck, if all you did was rent it out a couple times a weekend, you would cover most of your car payment.
    That having been said, the idea of sharing my car with a stranger, and not just any car, but my brand new Volt… That would be hard to pull the trigger on.


  5. 5
    Tom W

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (7:59 am)

    I suppose people might want to Rent a Volt just for the novelty.

    The Volt is not the kind of car someone would otherwise rent.

    You rent cheap low mileage cars for out of town trips.
    You rent full sized cars for luxury.

    The Volt is a car to replace imported oil with domestic electricity. Thats not normally why someone would rent a car.

    Now I suppose if someone would do something to promote/simplify/reward car-pooling and provide affordable charging at workplaces then we could do a lot towards the reducing imported oil idea.

    The Volt with affordable workplace charging becomes the best car anyone could ever buy for people that drive 60+ miles a day to work and back. If you do the math the car pays for itself in short order.

    But people don’t buy expensive cars so they can rent them out.


  6. 6
    Jim I

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (8:10 am)

    I don’t think so……

    The thought of some clown racing my Volt around town, treating it like a rental, doesn’t work for me.

    They can have the fob to my Volt when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!!!

    :)

    C-5277


  7. 7
    Schmeltz

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (8:11 am)

    I just don’t see this as something that is viable for Volt owners. If I had $40000+ invested in a machine, I would be hesitant to loan it out to anyone else. People can be hard on cars. I could maybe see this system working for cars on the low end for people that very occasionally need a car to drive to a location out of the city for a day, and the rest of the time use public transportation. But even then, I couldn’t see the Volt in a role like mentioned above. I could be wrong about this , but I just don’t think we as a society are in a place where this business would be successful IMHO.


  8. 8
    Tim Hart

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (8:28 am)

    I would rather just let friends drive it for free. The rent-it-out scenario might work in a big city situation but probably wouldn’t fly in rural Iowa.


  9. 9
    Mark Z

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (8:36 am)

    How can I prevent renting to an obese smoker and drinker who loves drive-thru fast food and never searches for the protected part of the parking lot to prevent door dings? This is one opportunity that could have unexpected consequences.

    There are rules, but car rental companies allow for normal wear. The scuff on the rear bumper or slight oil stain on the carpet from a dropped French fry would frustrate me.

    https://relayrides.com/borrowers/fees


  10. 10
    Tom W

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (8:38 am)

    Tim Hart: I would rather just let friends drive it for free

    Whats your address? I want to move next door and become your friend.


  11. 11
    stuart22

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (9:11 am)

    My initial reaction? No damn way I’d rent out my $40+k precious to strangers for $55 a day. And pay for their gas too? Get serious.


  12. 12
    Bonaire

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (9:34 am)

    I wouldn’t rent out anything new or expensive. If I had a few Chevettes in the driveway, still running, maybe. :-) This rental is perfect for maybe the Sonic line (Prius is involved in such car-shares).

    The issue is probably risk to investment is higher than the benefit or income received in return. Now, even if insurance covered dings, scratches, dents and broken axles, the hassle to the owner of going to get the car fixed is a problem. Not only that, someone who damages the car should rent it again on a per-hour basis in order to get it fixed so the owner isn’t out the car while it is getting fixed. You know how some have complained about Volt’s limited visibility angles (the rear bar across the window and the side sills) – imagine having new renters coming around and trying out the car every week or two – lot of people have to get used to the limited visibility. Rentals should have as much visibility as possible. AMC Pacer visibility.

    We do tend to think negatively – as in “I hope they don’t hurt the car”. The positives are that people who don’t want to spend what amounts to “big money” to buy and insure a car can participate in car-sharing and that, on its own, is a good thing. But this is handled best by fleet-management companies and not individuals who have never run a “car rental” business before.


  13. 13
    Loboc

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (9:56 am)

    I’m thinking that my bank and insurance company would not like me using my personal car for commercial purposes.

    As a matter of fact, I think there are clauses in both these contracts specifically disallowing this kind of use.

    And what does renting your car out do to your warranty?

    Sounds too risky to me.


  14. 14
    Nelson

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (10:31 am)

    If this takes off it could kill car rental agencies. Maybe!
    1. What if the car I rent leaves me stranded due to poor maintenance on the part of the owner?
    2. I rented my perfectly running car and it came back with a check engine light, who’s responsibility is the repair?
    The devil is in the details!

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


  15. 15
    DonC

     

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (10:43 am)

    Napster (with complications) and fees. Basically it’s peer to peer rentals. Would I expect new Volt owners to jump in? Nope. But I could see the right person with the right vehicle making it available, and I could see the right person renting it. Very interesting idea and OnStar makes it doable.


  16. 16
    Kent

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (11:07 am)

    I can see myself renting someone else’s car through RelayRides, but I wouldn’t offer my car, Volt or any other, for rent. I’ve seen how people treat rental cars and I would never allow my personal vehicles to be abused in that manner, especially my brand new 2012 Volt!

    That being said, if there’s a market for this, and it helps out other people, I’m all for it.


  17. 17
    kdawg

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (11:36 am)

    People acting as car rental companies…. reminds me of couchsurfing.com where people act as hotels. Problem is, like any of these situations, you never really know what you’re going to get, from either side (seller/buyer), until it happens.

    http://www.couchsurfing.com


  18. 18
    Steverino

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (12:13 pm)

    Nope. No thanks. No way.

    I would not rent my Volt to strangers any more than I’d rent out my kids. I would not rent out any of my cars for that matter. Renters more often than not do not take the same care as owners.


  19. 19
    Dave K.

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (12:57 pm)

    Jim I: The thought of some clown racing my Volt around town, treating it like a rental, doesn’t work for me.

    I drive my Volt “normally”. Meaning, with the flow of traffic. I really like the off the line torque and punch it at least 2 or 3 times each drive. Mostly for on ramp, passing, and scooting through traffic. The highest top speed I have driven my Volt is about 81 or 82 mph. This was for a very short burst to move to a safer spot on the freeway. Most fun is found below 40 mph.

    The public needs to be able to rent Volts through Enterprise, Alamo, and Budget. $30 per day for an Elantra? Or $40 per day for a Volt? It’s an easy call.

    =D-Volt


  20. 20
    James

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (2:03 pm)

    I am a real estate investor – so my take may be a different angle. I’ve read and +1d quite a few posts today because, YEAH SURE, I agree, if I bought a Volt for the sole purpose of my personal ride – NO WAY ON EARTH am I gonna rent it out! But — if I were to think as the entrepeneur, I think there is a great curiosity out there re: electric cars and a rental Volt would be very popular. It spreads the love, so to speak – gives that person who previously never thought of actually purchasing a Volt that heavenly FIRST EREV DRIVE EXPERIENCE many of us have had. That drive did it for me, I set about saving my pennies for my first Volt right after the Volt Unplugged Tour. The car just drives so much better than my Prius, it’s ridiculous. So why not buy a couple Volts and park them out front and run an EREV rental side biz?

    Everybody here is right – In my city, Honda Civics and Nissan Sentras are ride-share cars. Occasionally you’ll see a Prius, yet they are a bit pricey for such duty. Keep our expectation in reality and yes, a rental Volt will get trashed. But that’s what it’s for – never purchased as your personal vehicle. Play it right and that $46,000 Volt with MyLink and all the options may be a whole lot more affordable with the help of your rental fleet. I often am surprised by folks who rent out homes or offices and are shocked when they find collateral damage. This all has to be factored in. Still, the rental Volt is a novelty item and I’m sure it would be spoken for on a regular basis. Remember the rental Shelby ( Hertz ) Mustangs from the sixties – revisted with exclusive Shelby Rental GT-350H Mustangs in 2006?

    Of course, I haven’t taken the time to crunch numbers at this point, insurance, maintenance, depreciation…But it might make better sense to just buy a Volt to rent for profit. Might be a win-win-win, if you know what I mean ;) .

    Please check out the GM letter campaign post in forums ( “Volt Owners – Time To Write GM?” by kickincanada ). – a great idea and one wherein we can be heard. I haven’t even considered buying a new GM product EVER and now I’m heading towards being a Volt owner and big GM advocate. Tell them to PUMP OUT THE VOLTECS – and stress the importance of Volt – every voice counts as our Canadian friend points out. There are lots of very articulate and passionate Volt fans on this site – we can make a difference!

    VOLT, IT’S MORE FREEDOM THAN ELECTRIC!,

    James


  21. 21
    BLIND GUY

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (2:12 pm)

    My wife started using a van pool service VPSI, threw her employer about 2&1/2 months ago. It saves her from driving 200 miles a week in our car. I don’t know details but all 7 people who participate in the van have not had to pay a penny out of pocket. It is a great plan and I hope it lasts. There is no way I would consider renting out a car of ours despite any revenue it would generate.


  22. 22
    Jackson

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (3:00 pm)

    **Sorry**

    ***not***

    *Interested*

    However, this model reminds me of one commonly used by private pilots: an LLC or co-ownership scheme which shares out one airplane among many users (airplanes can be quite expensive). A good agreement can be cheaper overall than renting a plane to keep a pilot’s hours current. In my opinion, Volts are not that expensive (also, you don’t plan in advance to go out to an airport in order to drive down to Wal-mart). My point though, is that private pilots already used to the idea may find the Volt-sharing proposal more natural.

    What’s interesting to note is that the airplane arrangements are typically set up on a much smaller scale; among users known to one another. The need for a large company in partnership with GM for car sharing smells a little fishy to me.

    I’m not a private pilot.


  23. 23
    Noel Park

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (3:52 pm)

    WHAT PART OF NO DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?


  24. 24
    Jim I

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (4:55 pm)

    Noel Park:
    WHAT PART OF NO DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?

    =============================

    Tell us how you really feel??????????????

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    +1

    C-5277


  25. 25
    VoltSkeptic

     

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (6:18 pm)

    Hmmm,

    I wonder what the GetAround (http://www.getaround.com/) folks think about this? Given they’ve been around for a few years and have been forging the way by getting insurance laws changed to enable the business model, I think they’d be pissed.

    I smell a lawsuit…


  26. 26
    Dave K.

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (8:12 pm)

    Oil prices above $85 for first time since Sept.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Oil-prices-above-85-for-first-apf-972074541.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=4&asset=&ccode=

    ____________________________________________________________

    Pump gas prices slipped to $3.50 per gallon last week. Prompting a rush on truck purchases. This week the news headlines forecast an economic recovery. And guess what. The oil companies are jumping on this rush of fresh cash for a quick grab. The bottom line is this: If you have a little extra money the oil companies will take as much as they can from you at the pump. Your 50 cent raise equals about $20 per week. This means your local gas station will be able to grab $5 of it from you per week. It’s time to wake up. A 230+mpg car is available now.
    2012 is an election year for President of The United States of America. One front runner states he will increase drilling off 3 coasts. In untapped areas of Alaska. And also withdraw oil from shale in the Mid West.
    Which is the better direction to head? To drive vehicles which require 3 or 4 gallons per month to operate? Or drive vehicles which require 33 to 35 gallons per month to operate? And drill every crack and hole to supply them. There are 270 million registered vehicles in the USA.

    When the USA consumes local oil reserves we’ll obviously venture out to find (take) more. India, China, and the rest of the world are pretty much drinking all the oil in the Eastern Hemisphere. Another war for oil? Or vehicles which don’t require dumpsters full of oil (each) per year to operate?

    I am not suggesting to vote Democrat or Republican. But, we must maintain the healthy move away from gluttonous oil use. Make sure this point remains a political tennis ball.

    Volt 555 = 400mpg


  27. 27
    Noel Park

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (8:30 pm)

    Dave K.: But, we must maintain the healthy move away from gluttonous oil use.

    #26

    Amen brother. Preach on! +1


  28. 28
    MrEnergyCzar

     

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (9:10 pm)

    Interesting concept, don’t they have to open it up to all ride share programs? I wouldn’t rent my Volt during the first few years….

    MrEnergyczar


  29. 29
    BoultVolt

     

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    Oct 10th, 2011 (10:31 pm)

    Second post (It was my first time being the “first” poster first so I did not think it all through).

    While I would not likely “rent’ out my volt.. If the service is offered I’d look for volts I could rent when on the road (especially DC) and I would think about a volt exchange.

    The other comments about it being a good model to help meet payments are interesting, but I know people that lost big-time by expecting they could rent their condo’s to cover costs and did not. I think where this will be interesting is for off-lease volts or other used volts (or more general GM cars) that were bought used, which generally means less investment (both $$ and emotional).

    I think the on-star feature is important, being able to do it securely without the key exchange. I would hope the service also includes instant GPS (so I can see if they are going out of the zone) and auto-disable.

    As others have mentioned, I can see this having issues for insurance and liability that could be a company killer. Sharing a room is nothing like sharing a 3800lb car, especially if the renter is under the influence.


  30. 30
    Sean

     

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    Oct 11th, 2011 (2:37 am)

    I thought that was a great Idea what’s wrong with what I wrote hmm tell me why it’s not a good Idea?