GM Will Integrate Peer-to-Peer Car-Sharing Software Into OnStar

General Motors has announced that it will update its OnStar vehicle communications system to facilitate peer-to-peer car-sharing. Thanks to a partnership with RelayRides, a San Francisco-based startup that allows users to rent their cars out to drivers-in-need on an hourly basis, GM vehicles equipped with OnStar will be able to be unlocked and started via cell phone—eliminating the need for the costly $500 device currently used for remote locking. All OnStar-equipped GM models—including the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid—will be RelayRides-ready beginning next year.

RelayRides was launched in Cambridge, Mass., in 2010 with a staff of just four employees, but interest in the project quickly grew, and after raising two successful rounds of startup capital, the company moved its headquarters to San Francisco. The company is still limited to just 2,000 members and about 100 vehicles, but with the announcement of the GM partnership, that should change soon.

“People’s driving patterns and buying habits are going to2 change, particularly young people,” said GM Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky to The Wall Street Journal>. “There are a number of new competitors and new business models; we need to be mindful of them and look for ways to take advantage of them.”

RelayRides is currently only available in San Francisco and Boston but has plans to expand in the near future. Given GM’s interest in the company and decision invest in the peer-to-peer car-sharing model both financially and in its OnStar software, it’s likely that expansion will be substantial.

Participating vehicle owners can set their own price for the rentals, typically charging $6-12 per hour. Of that money, the loaner gets to keep 65 percent, with the remaining money going to RelayRides’s profit margin and to pay for insurance. Crucially, users who rent their cars through RelayRides don’t need to worry about damage to their car or other liabilities, as each rental is insured for up to $1 million. If a car is returned late or damaged, the borrower must pay fines that are transferred directly to the owner.

Car-sharing is becoming an increasingly popular choice for urban residents who occasionally need to use a car but don’t consider owning one to be a practical option. Since 2009, the car-sharing market has grown from 400,000 users to more than 640,000. According to the market research firm Frost and Sullivan, that number is poised to grow to 4.4 million by 2016.

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  • David

    The GM – Relayrides Partnership Violates Anti-Trust Laws

    Learn More:

  • MrEnergyCzar

    Maybe they’ll open it up to other ride share companies if it takes off.


  • SteveC

    There is no way in hell I’d participate in this idea. I see nothing but a giant PR disaster for GM. OnStar looks more and more like a thing that I wouldn’t want in my car.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Sorry, but I’d never ever participate in a scheme like this. I don’t want people trashing my car. I don’t care if there is $1,000,000 insurance. Because when you’re done with the ride sharing the problem/trashed car is yours for the remainder of the time you keep it.

  • Shines

    This is just my opinion and not based on any research…
    I doubt RelayRides violates ant-trust. First of all GM vehicles make up much less than 50% of vehicles. and ones with On-
    Star much less than that. Secondly, the folks likely to share their ride are probably not brand new vehicle owners. If I just bought a brand new car I sure as heck wouldn’t be loaning it to strangers. So thirdly, the few folks that are most likely to be participating in RelayRides are more likely to be used car buyers and not likely to be paying the extra fee required to keep On-Star active. Sorry for sounding so negative RelayRide fans, but Horses, bicycles and cars have been around for centuries and I’ve never heard of sharing them being popular. Ride sharing (car pooling – even picking up hitch hikers) is one thing. Letting a stranger use your transportation without you is something else.

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  • Kevin Converse

    Hello! Wake Up! If you don’t live in a very densely populated area, where subways, buses and taxi’s are the only way to get around, you may not understand the situations in which a shared ride makes sense. When a parking spot alone could be $1500.00 a month, it is amazing how you may want to share your ride to offset costs. Especially if you don’t use your vehicle on a daily basis.
    I wouldn’t share my ride either, but I can guarantee you that if I was stuck being someplace where I didn’t want to spend time waiting in bad weather for a transportation service, I would love to have someone willing to share their wheels with me.
    People we really need to look at things from all perspectives. When did the U.S. become such a “because I don’t want it, no one needs it.” mentality?

  • Alen Jones

    By taking advantage of the car sharing services is the most convenient way to get around . As in case of Car share you will get the same comfort as of a personal car and also you don’t need to think about your parking expenses too. Sharing your ride with some one will also provide you a chance to save more money.

  • Nate L

    Hmm…How exactly is it your problem if it’s trashed? i’m sure that through the agreement you look over the vehicle before the sharees time is up.. I might be misunderstanding this, but it looks like you can negotiate such terms.

  • htc repair

    very cool, i want to be a part of this future