July 18, 2012
Rent Your Car Through OnStar, GM And RelayRides
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
RelayRides is an online car-sharing marketplace that launched in Boston in June 2010, and GM invested in the company back at the end of 2011.
OnStar is an in-vehicle service known for connecting drivers to live operators who help provide directions or emergency help after an accident
RelayRides developers were given access to some OnStar services, including features that locate a vehicle and unlock the doors remotely. Renters can unlock the doors using their phones or by replying to text messages.
GM said that its owners can now earn up to hundreds of dollars per month by renting out their vehicles with RelayRides.
Owners are expected to charge about $10 an hour, which includes gas, and RelayRides will take a 40 percent cut and provide a $1-million insurance policy for the owner and $300,000 for the renter.
The company has already been operating primarily in San Francisco and Boston for several years, but has had trouble attracting owners willing to rent out their car.
OnStar gives RelayRides access to six million subscribers and potentially 9 million more that have the system but do not pay the $18.99 monthly fee.
"Owning a car in a metropolitan area such as San Francisco or New York is pretty expensive. Urban consumers will start to embrace this, but it doesn't mean that in five years people won't be using the rental car companies or buying cars. It is really early," Thilo Koslowski, an automotive analyst at research firm Gartner Inc, told the Los Angeles Times.
Using RelayRides, prospective renters look for vehicles on the company's website that are available in their area. Once a reservation is made, RelayRiders uses OnStar's global positioning technology to transmit the exact location of the vehicle to the client.
Once the renter gets to the car, he or she uses a smartphone application or series of text messages to unlock the vehicle and find a key hidden inside.
When the renter is done using the car, the renter returns it to the location and locks the key back inside the vehicle.
Drivers who do not have OnStar can still rent their cars and trucks through the RelayRides service by exchanging keys directly with the renter.