Yesterday, we wrote about J.D. Power's 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study, which suggested that consumers may be fine with semi-autonomous features in their next cars, but aren't so interested in fully self-driving vehicles.
One other interesting bit of news to come out of the study, though, was that younger consumers aren't as hot on the idea of owning a vehicle--at least not in the way that most motorists do today. They'd rather use ride-sharing services like Lyft or car-sharing services like Zipcar.
While that mindset may come as a surprise to some, folks in the auto industry have known about it for some time. That's why General Motors started Maven and partnered with Lyft. It's why Toyota has teamed up with Uber. It's why Peugeot and Citroen are returning to the U.S. with Free2Move.
And it's also why AAA has launched Gig.
Gig is a car-sharing service that offers users access to a fleet of Toyota Prius c hybrids, which can be rented for varying lengths of time--hours, days, or weeks. However, once users put more than 250 miles on the odometer, they'll have to pay an extra surcharge.
At first glance, Gig looks a lot like other rental and car-share companies, but some of the bells and whistles offer conveniences that traditional outfits don't. Here are some of the ones that stand out to us:
1. Reservations are limited to 30 minutes in advance. When you need a car, just open the Gig app, find one near you, and grab it within half an hour. At the moment, the company doesn't allow reservations farther in advance than that. (Though we wouldn't be surprised if that changed down the line.)
2. Pick up and drop off anywhere in the Gig HomeZone. You don't need to visit a lot to get or return your Gig rental. As long as you're in the company's HomeZone, you can find and leave cars.
3. No key required. Users enter and start Gig cars using a smartphone app (or, if cell reception is bad, via an RFID-enabled Gig Card). There are no keys to grab or return. Or lose, for that matter.
4. No fuel costs. Fuel is built into the cost of the ride, though if you start to run low, you'll need to fill up. You can see how much fuel is in your reserved ride using the Gig app.
5. Cheaper rates when parked. Gig drops the rental rate to $0.30 per minute when a vehicle is parked and turned off, so long as users tap "park and come back" in the Gig app. Not only does that keep rates low, it also prevents other Gig users from driving off in the car.
6. Gig calculates the lowest rate. Not sure how long you'll need a car? When you're finished, Gig will compare rates and find the lowest one. For example, if you've used a car for 12 or more hours, you might make out better paying the full day rate.
Gig launches in the Bay Area of California on Sunday, April 30. Want to know more? Check out the FAQ on Gig's website.