New ride-sharing service to hit the Ann Arbor Metropolitan area in the near future.

Aside from the whole autonomous cars thing that the world is focused on, the next thing on the list is personal and shared mobility. It was recently announced that General Motors had partnered with Lyft to provide a number of GM vehicles on demand to Lyft drivers. Now, GM is taking the idea of car sharing to a whole new level through a company called Maven. Currently Maven has been running various car-sharing programs on GM campuses in the U.S., Germany, and China, but GM has announced that Maven’s car-sharing services are expanding into the public domain, with Ann Arbor, Michigan being the first metropolitan area to get the service. More areas will be included sometime later this year.

GM President Dan Ammann said, “GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility. With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future.”

Basically, the system works via a smartphone app. Those looking to “borrow” a car for a period of time can pull up the app, locate a vehicle, reserve it, and pay for its use – insurance and fuel included. In Ann Arbor, this means more than 100,000 people, mainly University of Michigan faculty and students will have access GM cars at more than 20 locations around the city. Once a vehicle is reserved, the app is used to unlock the vehicle, start the engine remotely, and even control the HVAC system.

Maven will launch the same service in Chicago through a partnership with Magellan Development Group near to the end of the first quarter of 2016. The next move is to expand the “Let’s Drive NYC” program through a partnership with Stonehenge Partners in New York City. Eventually, the program should move forward to allow peer-to-peer sharing like that seen in Germany via CarUnity. Once autonomous cars are perfected, the program will be further expanded, and cars will deliver themselves to those who have reserved them. There aren’t any details on pricing at this point, but I suspect we’ll see pricing that competes well with car rental companies across the globe.

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Why it matters


I think the car-sharing service that is being offered through Maven is pretty cool, but I’m not sure it won’t come without its problems. Currently, the global Maven team includes more than 40 employees from companies like Google, Zipcar, and Sidecar. Customers in Ann Arbor will have access to these professionals by means of a smartphone app, but what about maintenance, cleaning, and fueling. Eventually, the fleet of available cars will grow quite large, and with that comes the responsibility of maintaining thousands of cars, including keeping them fueled, since fuel is included with the price of using one of these cars. Sure, maybe a fuel card will be provided with each car, allowing each user to refuel at Mavens expense, but what about cleanliness? Some people fail to take care of cars they have purchased themselves, so how do I know my next shared ride won’t come with trash left over from the previous user? It’s just a thought, but I do see it potentially being a problem.

What do you think about the service? Will it work out well, or will it pose a lot of problems at first? Let us know in the comments section below.

Press Release

General Motors announced today its next step in redefining personal mobility with a new car-sharing service called Maven, which combines and expands the company’s multiple programs under one single brand.

GM Launches Maven - New Personal Mobility Brand
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Maven’s mission is to give customers access to highly personalized, on-demand mobility services. The global Maven team includes more than 40 dedicated employees from the connected car technology industry as well as ride- and car-sharing professionals from Google, Zipcar and Sidecar.

“GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future.”

Starting this week, Maven is expanding its offerings in multiple cities and communities across the U.S. Services are customized to regional customer needs and include city, residential, peer-to-peer and campus programs:

City: Today, Maven is announcing that it is offering its car-sharing program to more than 100,000 people in Ann Arbor, Mich., initially focusing on serving faculty and students at the University of Michigan. GM vehicles will be available initially at 21 parking spots across the city.

Additional city-based programs will launch in major U.S. metropolitan areas later this year.

Maven customers will experience seamless smartphone and keyless integration with the vehicle. Maven customers use its app to search for and reserve a vehicle by location or car type and unlock the vehicle with their smartphone. The app also enables remote functions such as starting, heating or cooling and more. Customers can bring their digital lives into the vehicle through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, SiriusXM radio and 4GLTE wireless. Each vehicle will provide an ownership-like experience with the convenience of car-sharing.

GM Launches Maven - New Personal Mobility Brand
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Maven pricing is simple and transparent and includes insurance and fuel.

As Maven grows, the team will use innovative ways of connecting personally with customers. Ann Arbor Maven users will have direct access to Maven leadership and core team members via the messaging application WhatsApp to share their experiences, ideas and thoughts with the team as they help shape the Maven service.

Residential: In the first quarter of 2016, Maven will launch car-sharing services for Chicago residents in partnership with Magellan Development Group. Maven is also expanding its existing residential program in New York City (previously called Let’s Drive NYC) with Stonehenge Partners giving users on-demand access to vehicles and preferred parking options. Both programs combined will offer service to more than 5,000 residents.
Peer-to-Peer: Existing global initiatives include peer-to-peer car-sharing through the CarUnity market place in Germany. Nearly 10,000 users have signed up in Frankfurt and Berlin since mid-2015.
Campus: Various programs are running on GM campuses in the U.S., Germany and China to refine and test future Maven commercial offerings.

“Maven provides on-demand access, choice and ease of use. The right vehicle and right mobility service for the right trip at the right time,” said Julia Steyn, GM vice president, Urban Mobility Programs. “With more than 25 million customers around the world projected to use some form of shared mobility by 2020, Maven is a key element of our strategy to changing ownership models in the automotive industry.”

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