|RelayRides reservation app. Click to enlarge.
General Motors’ OnStar subscribers can now rent out their idle vehicles through the RelayRides marketplace, leveraging OnStar connectivity already active in their vehicles (Earlier post), and with no need to hand over their keys.
RelayRides’ renters can unlock reserved OnStar-enabled cars simply by using their smart phones. RelayRides is the first third-party developer to integrate with GM OnStar’s proprietary application program interface (API) that will be available to other developers later this summer. RelayRides is backed by more than $13 million in venture capital funding from investors including Google Ventures and GM Ventures.
|Challenges with access-based consumption
|Consumers who access products in the short-term instead of owning them show greater indifference toward these products and identify less with the brand and other consumers, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
|Fleura Bardhi (Northeastern University) and Giana M. Eckhardt (Suffolk University) interviewed users of the Zipcar car sharing service and found that consumers do not feel any psychological sense of ownership.
|Although Zipcar is attempting to build a brand community, consumers currently do not want this type of engagement. Their lack of trust and their perception of the brand as enforcer lead them to engage with the brand solely as a service provider.
|“Zipcar uses a strict style of governance to maintain compliance with the rules of car sharing to make sure cars aren’t brought back late, the gas tank is filled, etc. Consumers like and even want more of this surveillance, as they feel it is the only way the system can work effectively, since they don’t trust each other to obey the rules without Zipcar’s heavy handed enforcement.
“Our study challenges the romanticized view of access understood as a form of
collaborative consumption and altruistically motivated. Instead, we show it to be the reverse, with everyone looking out for their own best interest and not
connecting to the objects they are accessing, other consumers, or the company.”
—Bardhi and Eckhardt.
General Motors, through OnStar, and RelayRides have joined forces to create an entirely new mobility solution for US drivers interested in more affordable, sustainable and collaborative automobile options. Our exclusive relationship with RelayRides provides an exciting new choice: the first automobiles to run on collaborative consumption.—Nick Pudar, VP OnStar Strategy and New Business Development
Studies show that each shared car results in up to 13 fewer cars on the road, leading to less-congested roads and less pollution.
Through OnStar’s proprietary API, RelayRides developers were given access to key vehicle-centric features such as location and remote door lock and unlock. This means renters can unlock the doors with their smart phone or by replying to a text message. Owners whose cars are not OnStar-enabled can still rent out their vehicles through the RelayRides’ marketplace by exchanging keys with the renter, or reactivating their OnStar subscriptions.
OnStar services are enabled by its Advanced Telematics Operating Management System (ATOMS). Later this summer, OnStar will make its proprietary API available to third-party developers.
Using the OnStar API to access GM vehicles empowers RelayRides to make car sharing even safer and more convenient. The sheer number of vehicles eligible for the program allows us to greatly expand across the U.S. and introduce the economic, environmental and community benefits of car sharing to regions that car sharing services have previously been unable to serve.—Shelby Clark, RelayRides founder and Chief Community Officer
RelayRides pioneered peer-to-peer car sharing when it launched in Boston in June 2010 and expanded into San Francisco later that year. In March 2012, RelayRides became the first service to launch nationwide, introducing a key-exchange program to enable renters and owners to enjoy the benefits of car sharing. Relay Rides provides all vehicle owners with a $1 million insurance policy for owners for the duration of the rental and a $300,000 policy for renters.