A partnership between General Motors and car-sharing service RelayRides was announced today – one that will allow owners of GM vehicles to more easily rent their OnStar-equipped vehicles to other users of the service. RelayRides, a car-sharing marketplace that gives owners the ability to rent out their personal cars when not in use, will team up with GM to make all OnStar-enabled models ready for use in the service. The program is scheduled for launch in early 2012, and will be GM’s first foray into car-sharing.
RelayRides, which was founded in June of last year, differs from other car-sharing services like Zipcar in that the vehicles for rent are made up of all privately-owned cars. RelayRides claims to be the world’s first peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace, and has established an online network of people willing to rent their cars in San Francisco, Calif. and Boston, Mass. RelayRides plans to expand its service to other U.S. cities with high ride-sharing demand in the future. Car owners set their own rental rates, and maintain control over the availability of the car. RelayRides provides a $1 million insurance policy for the rental period, likely helping owners rest a bit easier when a stranger is at the wheel of their car.
GM’s part in all of this involves working with RelayRides to develop a mobile app that will open OnStar-equipped vehicles. Normally, entering a vehicle into RelayRides’ car-sharing pool would require installation of a small device that unlocks the car. This deal makes all eligible OnStar vehicles ready for use in the service 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 GM vice chairman Stephen Girsky in a release. “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 partnership will initially be promoted through events and demonstrations in California, showcasing the technology from both companies. Both the OnStar integration and mobile app are planned for launch in early 2012, or precisely the time we’ll be searching for a Corvette ZR1 to rent.