Why it matters: If the thought of letting strangers ride in your car via Uber or Lyft is already enough to scare you, GM is upping the ante now. The company today launched its "Peer Cars" program, which will let citizens in select states rent out their vehicles for hands-free, passive income.
Ride-sharing programs are nothing new - companies like Uber and Lyft have been around for years, despite a few roadblocks they've hit over time. Drivers are able to use their own vehicles to cart passengers from point A to point B, which can be a convenient, reliable source of money depending on their location.
However, General Motors (GM) is looking to challenge the public's current perception of what a vehicle-sharing service can be. Using their Maven platform, GM plans to roll out a peer-to-peer car rental program, appropriately named "Peer Cars."
Peer Cars will enable "owners and eligible lessees" to earn money by letting others use their vehicles.
Unlike Uber and Lyft, Peer Cars will be completely hands-off for a given vehicle's owner. An owner could, for example, rent their car out while they're at work and pick it up again on their way home. Maven could also give drivers the opportunity to make money off of extra vehicles that would otherwise just be sitting in their driveway.
"Your car is one of the most expensive things you own. Sitting idle, it is a wasted asset," said GM's VP of Urban Mobility Julia Steyn. "In this beta, we are excited to offer GM owners the opportunity to capitalize on this demand and earn income by listing their vehicles."
Naturally, renting your car out to strangers carries a certain level of risk. After all, if someone crashes your beloved Cadillac, what recourse do you have? According to GM, the answer is "hefty reimbursement."
By letting others rent your vehicle via the Peer Cars app, you are automatically protected under GM's $1,000,000 insurance policy. Furthermore, all renters are "thoroughly vetted" before they are approved to use Peer Cars, and GM claims it will have 24/7 owner support available for any further concerns.
If GM's assurances have been enough to convince you to try their service out, you might be out of luck. For now, the service is only available to GM vehicle owners in Chicago, Detroit, and Ann Arbor Michigan. However, Peer Cars will launch in "additional U.S." markets sometime this fall.