Car-sharing is all in the news today with the announcement from General Motors that it will allow OnStar owners to loan out their vehicles using OnStar hardware. This comes as the result of a new partnership between GM and RelayRides, a car-sharing service.
Car-sharing is a simple concept, really. When you’re not using your car, you can rent it out to others using a car-sharing service such as RelayRides. This service, says TheCarConnection, is comparable to that offered by Getaround.
How RelayRides works
With RelayRides, owners that want to rent out their unused vehicles sign up and have the service install hardware in their cars. The hardware permits renters to access the cars without the need for keys. Owners set the amount of the rental fee as well as determine when their cars are available.
Consumers in search of vehicles to borrow use the RelayRides website or contact the service over the phone. They then make their reservation and receive both text and email messages that tell them where their rented vehicle is located and how to access it using an RFID card. Gas is included in every RelayRides reservation, and a gas card is in every RelayRides car. There’s also the protection of a $1,000,000 insurance policy.
To see more information about how RelayRides works, check out the video below.
How the RelayRides service works with OnStar-equipped cars
But with the new GM-RelayRides partnership, owners of vehicles equipped with OnStar that’s factory-installed, don’t have to go through all the trouble of getting RelayRides’ hardware put on their cars. OnStar does all the work, or it will, after GM makes some modifications to OnStar to allow borrowers to unlock their rented cars using their cell phones.
The program, GM’s first large-scale involvement in car-sharing, rolls out in early 2012. It will work in conjunction with an app so that borrowers can access vehicles using their smartphones.
While the current plans only accommodate vehicles with factory-installed OnStar systems, it may be offered at some point to OnStar FMV owners as well.
Of course, participation is voluntary. Owners who want to rent their OnStar-equipped cars out through RelayRides, or any other car-sharing service, can choose to have that service’s hardware installed instead.
Want to rent out your unused OnStar-equipped vehicle to make some extra cash? Look for “RelayRides ready” promos from GM early next year.