Car sharing network RelayRides teams up with GM

GM Pairs up with Car Sharing Network RelayRides

If you could make a few bucks renting your car out, would you? GM and RelayRides are betting you will want to become part of peer-to-peer car sharing through an exclusive relationship that was announced in Detroit.

GM owners will be able to leverage their OnStar system to rent out their idle cars through the RelayRides marketplace. RelayRides says some owners could make up to $1000 a month through the car sharing program.

RelayRides, which bills itself as the world’s first peer-to-peer cars haring marketplace, connects people who need a car with vehicle owners whose rides would otherwise just be sitting idle. RelayRides lets you borrow your neighbors' cars from as low as $5/hr. Or if you own a car, don’t just let it sit around when you could be making up to $7,000/year loaning it out safely and securely.

Basically, the vehicle owner sets the rate. RelayRides then lops a 15% administrative fee and a 20% insurance fee. Your personal car insurance does not cover the vehicle when it is being rented out. Instead, RelayRides offers a $1 million insurance package that pays you if something goes wrong.

The program, which will launch in early 2012, is GM’s first large-scale involvement in car sharing and is aimed at making it easier for those without a vehicle to access temporary, affordable and reliable transportation in a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac.

Through innovative technology integration, RelayRides will leverage OnStar to allow RelayRides borrowers to unlock GM cars with their mobile phones. For vehicles that are not OnStar enabled, RelayRides must install a small device in the car to provide convenient access to borrowers. The integration makes all eligible OnStar vehicles immediately “RelayRides ready” without having to install additional hardware.

“We’re using technology to make both our older and newest models car share ready and available for those owners who choose to participate in car sharing,” 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 program initially will promote the relationship through various events and demonstrations in California to showcase GM’s OnStar and RelayRides technology, and will feature Chevrolet vehicles, including the Volt extended-range electric vehicle. Participation in the RelayRides car sharing program is voluntary.

“RelayRides has always worked toward providing the safest, most advanced, peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace, where neighbors can help out one another by making their frequently unused car available to those who live nearby,” said RelayRides Chief Executive Officer André Haddad. “With the new GM relationship, RelayRides can leverage the OnStar technology to make car sharing even more convenient, with nothing more than a mobile app. Carsharing has never been easier.”

RelayRides is pioneering the ability to reach various population densities in a more spontaneous and hassle-free manner. According to Innovative Mobility Research, carsharing in North America has grown from 400,000 users in 2009 to 640,000 in July 2011. A study from Frost & Sullivan projects car sharing will have an estimated 4.4 million users by 2016.

RelayRides will leverage OnStar technology through a mobile application to allow customers to check for available vehicles, make a online reservation online as well as check future reservations, locate their reserved vehicle via GPS and lock and unlock the vehicle, all through their smart phone.

“Our experience in mobile app development will be a benefit to RelayRides as they develop their customer app,” said Nick Pudar, vice president of Planning and Business Development, OnStar. “Using OnStar’s technology will help make the car sharing rental process easy and safe for customers, and avoid the hassle of installation of additional equipment on their vehicles.”

This RelayRides mobile application is planned for early 2012.

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