Back in January, General Motors and Lyft announced a brand new, $500 million partnership that will ultimately result in a network of autonomous cars for ride-sharing fans.
But of course, those self-driving vehicles won't appear for several more years. In the meantime, GM plans to rent cars to would-be Lyft drivers at low prices--insurance and maintenance included.
The rental program is called Express Drive, and it could dramatically increase Lyft's network of drivers. That, in turn, could make the service more attractive to riders and give Lyft a leg up in its efforts to overtake Planet Earth's top ride-sharing company, Uber.
How low are Express Drive's rental prices? Pretty darn low. Cars start at just $99 per week, and drivers who carry out at least 65 rides per week can get a car through Express Drive for free. Drivers can rent cars for up to eight consecutive weeks.
Why launch a program like this? Why not just let drivers use their own vehicles? Lyft, like Uber, sets certain standards for the cars its drivers use. Though the standards aren't too high (you can see them for yourself here), they do cut out a sizable chunk of cars on the road, including two-door coupes and pickups with jump doors. In Chicago, Lyft had to turn away some 60,000 potential drivers because their vehicles didn't qualify.
Express Drive will launch in Chicago this month, where drivers will have the chance to rent Chevrolet Equinox crossovers tricked out with OnStar. Express Drive will roll out to Baltimore, Boston, Washington, D.C., and other cities in the near future.
If you'd like to apply to become a Lyft Driver and rent a GM vehicle, check out the Express Drive home page.