General Motors is bringing its car-sharing service Maven to the city of Austin, but just for freelance drivers for ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft, and on-demand delivery apps like Postmates, GrubHub, and InstaCart.
Someone who’s interested in driving for any of these on-demand services, but doesn’t own a vehicle, can rent an electric Chevy Bolt through Maven Gig starting at $229-a-week. The weekly price includes insurance, maintenance, and electric vehicle charging. There is no membership fee.
Maven first launched its gig worker product in 2016 in San Diego and San Francisco. Since then, it has been introduced in Los Angeles, Boston, Phoenix, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Detroit. Maven says its customers have logged 170 million miles driving for various on-demand apps.
What’s different here is how closely Maven says it will be working with the city of Austin to ensure there’s an adequate electric car-charging infrastructure in place for drivers to use this service. According to the company:
Maven is working with Austin Energy, the Austin Transportation Department, and Rocky Mountain Institute to create infrastructure solutions leading to an all-electric future. Maven will leverage Austin’s Plug-in EVerywhere™ network of EV chargers, including Electric Drive, Austin’s downtown smart mobility showcase complete with a DC Fast Charger and solar kiosk.
Uber and Lyft only resumed operations in Austin in May 2017 after the state of Texas preempted the city’s rules cracking down on ride-hail companies.
Presently, there are a handful of options available to someone who wants to make money as a freelance driver but doesn’t own a vehicle. Uber has a partnership with Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Denver, while Lyft, GM, and Hertz have a rental service called “Express Drive” available in 19 cities. (Last year, Uber decided to scrap its auto leasing business after higher-than-projected losses.) All offer discounted prices to freelance drivers.