New Player Emerges in Car Sharing Services

Arriving just in time in the District of Columbia, as Safe Track disrupts Metro service, General Motors launched 'Maven' to compete with ZipCar, Car2Go, and Enterprise car sharing services.

2 minute read

July 21, 2016, 5:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

"Maven, a car-sharing service launched by General Motors, open[ed] for business Monday [July 18] in the District offering 40 vehicles in 10 lots scattered throughout the city," reports Lori Aratani in the Dr. Gridlock column for The Washington Post.

The company hopes to distinguish itself from other players in the market by offering “new vehicles with high trim levels.” The OnStar suite of services, which includes keyless entry, also will be available for users free of charge.

"To be honest, though, it sounds a whole lot like the other roundtrip car-sharing services available locally—except with fewer cars and parking spots," writes Rachel Sadon for DCist. 

Zipcar, for example, has a fleet of more than 1,000 cars, and just added one-way trips around the region to boot. So is there any reason to give Maven a go?

With no membership fee, is there any reason not to? And rates are competitive, adds Sadon.

Prices for Maven start at $8 an hour for compact cars, like the Spark [and VOLT], to $14 for premium cars like the Cadillac ATS and standard SUVs like the GMC Yukon, up to $24 for the Escalade. Zipcar's rates start at $8 an hour, while Enterprise's start at $5.

More importantly, all car-sharing services may be in demand to fill the gaps left by SafeTrack reductions in service as D.C. Metro tries to "accelerate three years' worth of work into approximately one year," according to Metro.

Platform for self-driving cars?

Wired has speculated that the roll-out of Maven—which started in Ann Arbor and has since also expanded to Boston and Chicago—is actually just the foundation for the driverless future that GM plans to build. 

As one entrant into the industry emerges, one departs

Bay Area-based FlightCar will be shutting down, reports Austin Walsh for the Daily Journal on July 19. FlightCar appeared to offer a unique service, more part of the sharing economy than their competitors.

The FlightCar business model was built around facilitating travelers renting their cars to others while they were out of town. Those who used the site’s services would receive a share of the rental proceeds, a free lift to the airport and a car wash. 

However, all is not lost. 

The essence of the FlightCar will live on though, as the technology platform has been sold to Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America [see October post], and will be used to beef up the luxury car brand’s innovation lab for new services, according to [their] announcement.

Mercedes-Benz already owns car-sharing company Car2Go. In April, BMW launched ReachNow in Seattle, modeled on Car2Go.

Hat tip to POLITICO Morning Transportation.

Monday, July 18, 2016 in The Washington Post

View down New York City alleyway at nighttime

Red Cities, Blue Cities, and Crime

Homicides rose across the nation in 2020 and 2021. But did they rise equally in all cities, or was the situation worse in some than in others?

March 12, 2023 - Michael Lewyn

babyt Boomer Homeowners

The Shifting Boomer Bulge: More Bad News for America’s Housing Crisis?

In the first of a two-part series, PlaceMakers’ Ben Brown interviews housing guru Arthur C. Nelson on the sweeping demographic changes complicating the housing market.

March 12, 2023 - PlaceShakers and NewsMakers

Yellow on black "Expect Delays" traffic sign

A Serious Critique of Congestion Costs and Induced Vehicle Travel Impacts

Some highway advocates continue to claim that roadway expansions are justified to reduce traffic congestion. That's not what the research shows. It's time to stop obsessing over congestion and instead strive for efficient accessibility.

March 14, 2023 - Todd Litman

Washington D.C. Protest

IPCC Report: The World Is Running Out of Time on Climate Change

The planet is not doing enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent report published by the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

March 20 - International Panel on Climate Change

A view of the Boise skyline, across tress int he foreground. The state capitol is visible amongst other office buildings.

Skyline-Defining High-Rise Potentially Coming to Boise

A rendering making the rounds in Boise depicts a 40-story apartment building that would be taller than all other buildings in one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.

March 20 - Boise Dev

Interior of Tesla car with driver holding hands off wheel in 'full self-driving' mode

Buttigieg: Tesla ‘Autopilot’ Marketing ‘A Concern’

The USDOT secretary says marketing doesn’t fall under his department’s investigative authority, but expressed disapproval of language that implies autonomous operation.

March 20 - Bloomberg

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.