Hyundai partners with WaiveCar for free, ad-supported EV car sharing

Every automaker seems to be partnering up for car sharing, and Hyundai is no exception. The carmaker is teaming up with WaiveCar, a startup offering ad-supported car sharing with a pilot program currently operating in Santa Monica. The team-up will see Hyundai’s first EV, the IONIQ, incorporated into WaiveCar’s fleet, beginning in LA.

Hyundai is offering the IONIQ to WaiveCar users for up to two hours per trip on-demand for free, with ads displayed on the car’s body and on a roof-mounted display as a way to recoup the costs of driving for WaiveCar. WaiveCar’s top-taunted displays have their own built-in 4G data connection, and change the advertising they show to onlookers based on where the car is traveling and the time of day. After the initial two-hour period, the car can be kept for an additional $5.99 per hour, or returned to a designated WaiveCar drop-off point.

For Hyundai, it’s a double-dip marketing campaign: the cars display IONIQ advertising, and they also offer drivers a chance to take one for a spin totally free of charge, with fewer restrictions and more real-world use opportunity than if they’d come into a dealership for a test drive. To start, Hyundai is deploying 150 cars for use with WaiveCar, with availability beginning in early 2017.

It’s a smart partnership for Hyundai and WaiveCar both, as it gives the former a car-sharing partner with a unique model that’s a great fit for promoting its EV strategy, and the latter a steady inventory supply with vehicles that are less expensive to maintain than fuel-based cars. Show-rooming vehicles (giving users a chance to see what ownership would be like) is part of every automaker’s strategy with car-sharing services and partnerships, but this one, given the market and the EV angle, seems particularly apt.