General Motors, which said last fall that it reached an agreement with RelayRides to make people's personal vehicles available for car sharing, is doing just that. Tuesday, GM said that owners of cars equipped with the automaker's OnStar navigation service can rent out the vehicles to RelayRides subscribers. Through the service, RelayRides members can now use their smartphones to unlock participating GM vehicles. Subscribers can also get access to the cars by replying to certain text messages. GM says its vehicle owners may be able to earn "hundreds of dollars per month from their idle vehicles."
RelayRides debuted its peer-to-peer car-sharing service in Boston two years ago and took the service nationwide earlier this year. GM reached its agreement with RelayRides last fall, saying at the time that all GM vehicles built after 2010 and equipped with OnStar would be ready for the service.
Millions of subscribers can instantly access nationwide peer-to-peer car sharing market
DETROIT – General Motors' OnStar subscribers can now rent out their idle vehicles through the RelayRides marketplace, leveraging OnStar connectivity already active in their vehicles to potentially earn hundreds of dollars a month to offset the cost of owning a vehicle.
RelayRides' renters can unlock reserved OnStar-enabled cars simply by using their smart phones. RelayRides is the first third-party developer to integrate with GM OnStar's proprietary application program interface (API) that will be available to other developers later this summer.
OnStar's connectivity solution provides RelayRides' members with increased security, reliability and accessibility. Individuals who forgo car ownership can conveniently access affordable and reliable transportation in a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac. Owners of these OnStar-enabled GM vehicles rent out their cars and turn their idle vehicles into an income source without the hassle of installing expensive aftermarket hardware or having to meet a renter to hand off keys.
"General Motors, through OnStar, and RelayRides have joined forces to create an entirely new mobility solution for U.S. drivers interested in more affordable, sustainable and collaborative automobile options," said Nick Pudar vice president OnStar Strategy and New Business Development. "Our exclusive relationship with RelayRides provides an exciting new choice: the first automobiles to run on collaborative consumption."
Through OnStar's proprietary API, RelayRides developers were given access to key vehicle-centric features such as location and remote door lock and unlock. This means renters can unlock the doors with their smart phone or by replying to a text message. Depending on location and availability of the car, RelayRides marketplace participants can earn hundreds of dollars per month from their idle vehicles. Owners whose cars are not OnStar-enabled can still rent out their vehicles through the RelayRides' marketplace by exchanging keys with the renter, or reactivating their OnStar subscriptions.
OnStar services are enabled by its Advanced Telematics Operating Management System (ATOMS), which is the most powerful automotive cloud platform in the market today and connects about 6 million OnStar customers globally. Later this summer, OnStar will make its proprietary API available to third-party developers.
Studies show that each shared car results in up to 13 fewer cars on the road, leading to less- congested roads and less pollution.
"Using the OnStar API to access GM vehicles empowers RelayRides to make car sharing even safer and more convenient," said Shelby Clark, RelayRides founder and Chief Community Officer. "The sheer number of vehicles eligible for the program allows us to greatly expand across the U.S. and introduce the economic, environmental and community benefits of car sharing to regions that car sharing services have previously been unable to serve."
RelayRides pioneered peer-to-peer car sharing when it launched in Boston in June 2010 and expanded into San Francisco later that year. In March 2012, RelayRides became the first service to launch nationwide, introducing a key-exchange program to enable renters and owners to enjoy the benefits of car sharing. Relay Rides provides all vehicle owners with a $1 million insurance policy for owners for the duration of the rental and a $300,000 policy for renters.
RelayRides is the first nationwide peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace. The company connects people who need a car with vehicle owners whose rides would otherwise go unused, and backs its reservations with an insurance policy. RelayRides has raised more than $13 million in venture capital funding from investors including Google Ventures, August Capital, Shasta Ventures and General Motors Ventures. For more information, go to www.RelayRides.com.
OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of connected safety and security solutions, value-added mobility services and advanced information technology. Available on more than 40 MY 2012 GM models globally, OnStar is now also available for installation on most other vehicles on the road through a new retail product called OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle). OnStar FMV has been awarded the Good Housekeeping Seal. The OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App is a recipient of the 2011 Edison Award for Best New Product in the Remote Driving Aids segment. OnStar safely connects its more than six million customers, in the U.S., Canada and China, in ways never thought possible. More information about OnStar can be found at www.onstar.com.
About General Motors
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM's brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.