How RelayRides’ GM-OnStar Partnership Unlocks Doors — And A Potential 15M Cars For Its Fleet

Pardon the pun, but peer-to-peer car-sharing service RelayRides is on a roll. In March, the startup expanded beyond its first two regional markets — Boston and San Francisco — and made its marketplace available nationwide. Part of the reason it could do that is a partnership with GM and the automaker’s OnStar service.

The partnership enables users with GM cars to instantly make their cars available through RelayRides, and let users rent them with a minimum amount of hassle. While GM owners will still have to agree to renting their vehicles, they won’t even have to meet a potential renter to exchange keys — thanks to an integration with OnStar, the renter will be able to instantly open the car either through RelayRides’ mobile apps, its mobile web experience, or even by SMS.

It doesn’t even have to be a new car — anyone who has a GM car since 2005 will be able to connect his RelayRides and OnStar account. That means RelayRides has a potential 15 million cars that can be added instantly, on top of the thousands that are already in its marketplace. RelayRides has cars in 800 cities and 47 states nationwide, the vast majority of which have been added since it went national.

I sat down with RelayRides founder Shelby Clark, who showed me how the marketplace works, and how users can open up and rent cars with just a click on their mobile phones. Check out the video above.