Maven, a car sharing company out of General Motors, driving its way into San Francisco — its ninth city since launching in January, the company announced. Now those interested in short-term car rentals with a technological system suited to millennials can easily take GM vehicle out for a spin with no hassle. The service currently has pick-up and drop-off locations in the Financial District, South of Market (SOMA), Embarcadero, and the Mission District.
As you might expect, the rental service includes GM vehicles, like Chevy Volt hybrid EV or a gigantic Escalade. Prices start at $8 an hour for the cars and $14 an hour for the SUVs. In total, 60 cars will be available at 30 sites throughout the city.
Maven’s markets now include Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., among other cities. The quick growth signals General Motors’ (GM.N) aggressive push to cater to millennials and urban professionals who do not want the burden of car ownership.
The company touts its technological sophistication as an advantage over competitors such as Zipcar. Customers can just reserve a car via an app and use their smartphone to unlock and start their vehicle. Some of the other car sharing services also do this. But unlike Getaround or other peer-to-peer car sharing, Maven just uses GM’s cars and can thus offer high-technology integrations like Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM radio, OnStar, Android Auto and 4G LTE wireless connectivity. Grossman said more than 12,000 car reservations have been made to date.
While GM aims to appeal to drivers who don’t want to own cars, the company also hopes Maven will introduce new car models – such as all-electric Bolt – to customers who could be convinced to make a purchase.
Car-sharing isn’t a new market, but it is an important opportunity for the GM, a brand with a long history of adapting to the changing business landscape. Beyond seeking the customers who want to own the cars, the carmaker is investing in different use cases, such as the ride-sharing (Lyft), autonomous vehicles (through its acquisition of Cruise), and now car-sharing (Maven). And it isn’t stopping with the United States. — GM has made an investment in Yi Wei Xing Tech, a car-sharing service based in China.