Car sharing services have gained in popularity over the past few years. Car sharing eliminates the need for many people to own their own vehicle and this reduces the amount of vehicles on the roads. Fewer vehicles on the road means less traffic congestion and less pollution. Some studies show that a single shared car can lead to up to 13 fewer cars on the nation’s highways. Although car sharing is a growing trend, a new partnership between General Motors and RelayRides may just be the tipping point for the industry. This partnership has the potential to dramatically increase the amount of shared cars available to consumers here in the United States.


GM’s partnership with RelayRides, a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace, has resulted in a new mobile app that utilizes GM’s OnStar technology to connect car owners with individuals that need to rent a car. The entire process can be managed entirely from the renter’s smart phone.


RelayRides is the first third-party organization to work with OnStar’s application program interface (API) and the result was an app that enables renters to locate and reserve a vehicle and then remotely unlock the vehicle once the reservation time begins.


“Using the OnStar API to access GM vehicles empowers RelayRides to make car sharing even safer and more convenient,” said Shelby Clark, RelayRides founder and Chief Community Officer. “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.” Source: GM


The ability to remotely lock and unlock the vehicle’s door via the OnStar service is convenient because the car owner doesn’t have to wait around until the renter shows up. There is no physical transfer of keys and so this presents new opportunities for car owners to rent a vehicle when it isn’t being used.


For example, a vacationing family can earn some extra cash by renting out their vehicle through the RelayRides/GM Onstar program since they don’t have to be there, in person, to hand over the keys.


Vehicle owners that participate in the program can rest easy knowing that RelayRides provides a $1 million insurance policy for owners and a $300,000 insurance policy for renters.


For more information or to register a GM OnStar vehicle for the program, visit the RelayRides website.