For many of us car ownership is a gigantic plus. It enables us to work a significant distance from our home. It enables us to travel freely on our own schedule. And it enables us to take others with us as we move, both day-to-day and at road trip time. That said, there are instances when many of us would like to have the use of a car, truck or SUV without all the encumbrances that come along with it. Parking, maintenance, repairs — you know the drill. And that is why General Motors established Maven car-sharing. As Maven’s Brent Taylor told us in the audio interview embedded in this story, giving consumers options in how they obtain the use of a vehicle is a key reason venerable GM decided to introduce the service.
Obtaining a car is as simple as tapping an app
With an eye toward offering mobility to city-dwellers and college students, Maven car-sharing makes obtaining a car for as little time as an hour as simple as a few taps on the Maven smartphone app. Let’s say you’re a student at Michigan in Ann Arbor or Texas in Austin, and you need to do a shopping run for the sorority party coming up on Friday. You open the app; choose the GM vehicle you’d like to drive; find its near-to-you location; click to reserve and you’re ready to start your drive. When you get to the car, your smartphone will enable you to unlock the vehicle and start it. Off you go to complete the errands you need to complete. When you’re finished you return the car to the place you picked it up, and you are billed directly through the app.
Off course, longer trips are possible too. In addition to hourly rates, Maven City also offers daily rates that include the fuel you use. The only restriction is that Maven doesn’t want you to roam too far away, so there is typically a mileage restriction. Still, as Taylor told us, a lot of city dwellers are taking a Maven car for weekend getaways.
The average trip distance of 75 miles reflects a mix of hourly and daily uses, and that is also reflected in the 11-hour duration of the average reservation. The average age of a Maven member who has reserved a vehicle is 29, and Millennials make up 79 percent of reserving Maven members. (Some Maven car-sharing members have the app, but haven’t reserved a vehicle yet.) A big plus for college students is the fact that you can join Maven and reserve a vehicle if you are 18 years old or above. Many rental car companies will not rent to anyone under 25 years of age, and very few of them offer hourly rentals.
As Taylor discusses in the interview, Maven also offers Maven Gig that enables individuals to get a low-cost lease on a GM vehicle so they can become a Lyft or Uber driver without a lengthy commitment. Maven vehicles are available by the hour, day, week or month. All reservations include gas and insurance minus a deductible. As you would assume, Maven offers vehicles from GM’s Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands, including the all-electric Chevy Bolt. Further details on Maven Gig and on Maven City, including the cities in which the service is available, is offered at Maven.com.