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GM’s OnStar Partnering with RelayRides to Promote Car Sharing

Want to rent out your car during business hours?

by on Oct.05, 2011

OnStar teams with RelayRides' carsharing service.

Sure, you’ve got a long commute, but the fact is that your car – and most others – sit around most of the day when they could be put to better use.  Or so is the theory behind RelayRides, which takes an offbeat approach to put cars to better use when they’d otherwise be sitting idle.

Teaming up with OnStar, RelayRides – which is backed by money from Google Ventures – provides an alternative to traditional car rental firms.  Someone who might need a car, say, to run a couple errands, could access a vehicle from someone living down the block or working in a nearby office.

The system is designed to make a short-term rental quick and easy — and even to give a user a wide range of vehicle choices.  Owners, meanwhile, could get a chunk of change that could be applied to their monthly car payment — or gas bill.

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As part of an exclusive relationship that will begin in early 2012, the car-sharing service will focus on GM vehicles equipped with OnStar.  That would seem to make sense because unlike many competing telematics systems, a vehicle with OnStar has a built-in data link that doesn’t depend on having the owner’s cellphone nearby.

An OnStar operator thus could unlock the door of a vehicle for an authorized RelayRides user.  Otherwise, someone participating in the car-sharing venture would have to install a special device in the vehicle to allow access.