GM’s new Maven Reserve service offers monthly vehicle rentals

Alternative models to car ownership now abound, and GM’s putting one more on the table: Maven Reserve, an offering within its Maven on-demand rental service that lets users rent new GM cars for 28 days at a time, complete with parking, insurance and $100 in gas credit. These will cost you, however: The Chevrolet Tahoe is one of the initial offerings, with a $1,500 flat rate for the month, and the less expensive Chevrolet Volt is also available – but still runs $1,100 per month.

These vehicles include a lot of optional service extras that GM would normally charge more for on top of the price of a new vehicle or lease, however, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment options, as well as SiriusXM satellite radio, 4G LTE WiFi. You also get access to support from “Maven advisors,” who can provide answers to questions, roadside assistance and handle emergency situations via GM’s OnStar service.

At first, GM will be offering Maven Reserve only in LA and San Francisco, both beginning Friday. These initial markets were chosen, according to the automaker, because of their entrepreneurial and entertainment market demographics – the theory being that the convenience of long-term on-demand rentals will appeal to groups of people whose routines and commutes change with fair frequency. These areas also tend to house a lot of long-term work placement employees from other markets, so it’s a suitable choice for Maven in that way, too.

Maven suggests some other possible use cases from either location: The Tahoe is a good fit for hauling production equipment to location shoots, for instance, and the Volt can manage the San Francisco to Silicon Valley commute with relative ease thanks to its extended-range hybrid electric drivetrain. Tahoe and Volt were also chosen for more data-driven reasons: They’re some of the most popular cars in the existing Maven City lineup for short-term rentals.

This isn’t the first time a GM brand is dipping its toes into longer-term rentals: Cadillac has been testing its Book by Cadillac long-term on-demand rental service in New York. That also asks for a $1,500 monthly fee, but is designed for multi-month use and offers subscribers the option to choose from a range of Cadillac vehicles which they can switch out as needed.

At $1,100 and $1,500 per month respectively for Tahoe and Volt monthly rentals, respectively, Maven Reserve isn’t going to be for everyone – but if you start adding up the cost of lease, insurance and that $100 gas credit, plus payment for a parking spot in these busy cities, and you’re hitting that mark pretty quick. The best cost offset might be the fact that you only pay when you need it – unlike a lease, which you’re stuck with for the duration of your term.

Maven Reserve also feels like one part of a hybrid model that will provide an array of options in concert to replace ownership: Maven City, and forthcoming on-demand ride-sharing GM is planning to launch with autonomous vehicles further on down the road can work together with Maven Reserve to suit the different needs of the same individual at different times. Maven may have started life as essentially just a GM-branded Zipcar equivalent, but it’s quickly evolving into much more.