Uber has announced that it will be teaming up with GM’s car-sharing company, Maven, allowing drivers to rent GM vehicles on a weekly basis in a 90-day pilot program to see how the arrangement works. This is separate from, but similar to, GM’s Express Drive program, wherein the carmaker makes vehicles available to Lyft drivers on an all-in short-term rental basis when they lack their own vehicle to qualify for use with Lyft.
The pilot project with Uber is debuting in San Francisco, and will operate only in that city for the time being. Maven expanded its own services (which primarily focus on providing Zipcar-like short-term rentals to members) to San Francisco residents earlier this month.
Per-week fees for use of the GM vehicles provided for use by Uber drivers is set at $179 for the pilot project, plus taxes and fees. Drivers also can use the cars for their own personal trips, in addition to the time they spend using them to ferry Uber passengers. This is in line with what Lyft drivers pay for GM cars via Express Drive, per GM VP of Maven and Urban Mobility Julia Steyn, according to Automotive News.
GM’s move isn’t surprising, given how much time and effort it’s investing in exploring alternatives to individual ownership in its future-focused mobility programs. It is interesting, however, in light of the closeness of the company’s relationship with Lyft before now, and rumors that circulated previously that GM may have suggested to Lyft it was interested in purchasing the smaller company, though Lyft has since denied that any formal acquisition talks took place.
Maven branching out into car sharing services that extend beyond the direct-to-consumer model is interesting, too — it suggests that the GM subsidiary could become far more than just a GM-vehicle exclusive Zipcar or car2go alternative. Business-to-business in addition to B2C offerings will make Maven a far more versatile tool in GM’s utility belt.