Car-sharing via a smartphone app.General Motors has launched a new car-sharing service, Maven, which is now available in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It will focus on serving faculty and students at the University of Michigan. GM vehicles will be available at 21 parking spots throughout the city. Maven will launch more of its services in major United States metropolitan areas later this year.

In a video about Maven (which you can watch below), Peter Kosak, executive director of GM Urban Mobility, said:

What essentially is a start-up inside General Motors has been a magnet drawing talent from places inside the company and outside, like Zipcar, Google and Sidecar.

In the video, Julia Steyn, vice president of GM Urban Mobility, explains how Maven works: “You download the app, you reserve the car, and you get on the road.”

Maven car-sharing app

Maven car share will operate via a smartphone app.

Operated With Smartphone App

Writing for Gizmag, Stu Robarts said Maven’s city services will be operated with a mobile app. Users will be able to search for and reserve vehicles by location or car type, and unlock their chosen vehicle — all through a smartphone. The app will also have remote-control functions like starting the engine and operating the climate control. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, SiriusXM radio, and 4G LTE wireless functionalities also will be available.

Strategic Alliance

Maven’s services will include city, residential, peer-to-peer, and campus services. Earlier this month, GM announced that it would be investing $500,000 in Lyft, in a “long-term strategic alliance” that would eventually include the development of autonomous vehicles. In the Maven video, Steyn says:

With car sharing, on-demand ride sharing, and ultimately autonomous cars being driven to your door, I do believe there is a future out there where my eight-year-old will never learn how to drive.

Maven users can choose from various car models (Chevy Spark, Volt, Malibu, and Tahoe), at prices as low as $6 an hour or $42 a day, plus applicable taxes. As an example of pricing, the Maven website says that in the program, a Chevy Malibu would cost $8 an hour, or $56 a day. Pricing includes insurance and fuel. Membership is free for now.

Expanding to Other Cities

GM writes that it will launch car-sharing services in Chicago in the first quarter of this year, in partnership with the Magellan Development Group. Along with Stonehenge Partners, Maven is also expanding its existing program in New York City, which was previously called “Let’s Drive NYC.” That gives users on-demand access to vehicles and preferred parking options, GM writes, adding that the combined Chicago and NYC options will offer services to more than 5,000 residents. In addition, GM has been running programs on campuses in the U.S., Germany, and China, to “refine and test” future commercial Maven programs. The carmaker has been running peer-to-peer car-sharing in Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany, since mid-2015, through the CarUnity marketplace.

Here is GM’s video about Maven:

Image by Jozef Polc.

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