Maven's 'Peer Cars': Your Mobility Future Is Someone Else's Ride

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

A pilot project we discussed months ago is now up and running in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Chicago. Launched by General Motors’ Maven ride-sharing arm, the new peer-to-peer service goes beyond the existing fleet of GM-owned vehicles (which Maven users can rent for varying periods) and into the realm of the privately-owned car.

Yes, there’s owners who are now letting their car work for them.

Called Peer Cars, these 2015-or-newer GM vehicles appear alongside Maven Cars whenever a Maven user in a participating market takes out their phone and opens the app in search of a low-cost, short- or long-term rental.

The user experience is the same as renting a typical Maven car (read about Bozi Tatarevic’s experience here). Open the app, locate your preferred car, travel to that location, unlock the car with your phone, and drive off. Owners needn’t meet the renter in order to size them up — GM takes care of that. It also installs the necessary unlocking device, takes photos, provides a $1 million insurance policy, and collects 40 percent of the revenue earned from the rental. Owner assistance is available from either Maven or OnStar.

It’s assumed the vehicle owner will make his or her loan payments by putting the car on the Maven rental market, choosing when it’s available, and for how much. GM claims owners can set a price within a range that’s up to 20 percent higher than a regular Maven vehicle — or 20 percent lower.

“Your car is one of the most expensive things you own. Sitting idle, it is a wasted asset,” said Julia Steyn, vice president of General Motors Urban Mobility and Maven, in a statement. “It’s time to put your car to work. Maven’s peer-to-peer offering is a smart way for owners to offset their vehicle investment.”

Of course, racking up extra miles with someone else behind the wheel also means these owners will hit their maintenance periods sooner, as well as add wear and tear to the vehicle — potentially lowering their resale or trade-in value. For lessees, it means using up more of your annual allotted miles. This could earn you a penalty in the event of an unexpected end-of-year road trip, assuming there’s no other option besides taking your own car. We hope would-be Peer Cars owners spend some time with a calculator before taking the plunge.

That said, Steyn’s words could certainly resonate with a number of people who see this as a way of getting out of working a second, low-wage job, or simply as a way of reaching the car payment finish line sooner.

GM plans to collect data from the three test markets before rolling out Maven’s Peer Cars in additional U.S. cities this fall.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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2 of 23 comments
  • Bimmer Bimmer on Jul 24, 2018

    What's next? Renting out your wife, while you're on a business trip or in a meeting, because you can't "use" her? /s

  • Ajla Ajla on Jul 24, 2018

    I only wear one set of underpants each day but I own like 30. Such a waste when all those other underpants could be rented out for big bucks. Anyway, I know where my hands have been. I wouldn't be keen on letting strangers feel up my machines.

  • The Oracle This thing got porky quick.
  • Kwi65728132 I'll grant that it's nicely kept but I'm not a fan of the bangle butt designs, and I know better than to buy a used BMW while living anywhere in the world other than in the fatherland where these are as common as any Honda or Toyota is anywhere else.
  • ChristianWimmer When these came out I thought they were hideous: now they’ve grown on me. This one looks pretty nice. Well-maintained, low mileage and some good-looking wheels that aren’t super fancy but not cheap-looking or boring either, they are just right.
  • Aja8888 Someday in the far away future, all cars will look the same, people will be the same color, dogs will be all mixed beyond recognition, and governments will own everything. That car looks like my son's Hyundai Tucson without badges.
  • Tassos Of course, what the hell did you expect? A SERIOUS, BEAUTIFUL car you can ACTUALLY USE AS YOUR DAILY DRIVER???............. NOOOOO, THIS IS TIM WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. SO HE FINDS SOME OBSOLETE POS WHICH IS 22 years old, .............AND HE PURPOSELY MISSES THE BEAUTIFUL MODEL, THE Classical Beauty E39 that ended in 2003. ...........So he uses his column as a WASTEBASKET once again, to throw the first year of BMWs BANGLED 5 series (as in the INFAMOUS CHRIS BANGLE WHO SCREWED UP THE DESIGN ROYALLY). ................................................ As Dr. Evil, Fake Doctor Jill Biden would scream at the top of her voice, so her senile idiot husband could hear her, "Good Job, (Tim)! You answered all the questions and ticked all the boxes!" ..... KEEP UP THE S---Y work, Tim!