OnStar now helps owners rent out their cars
By Ben Coxworth
July 17, 2012
Want to make some money off that OnStar-equipped Cadillac of yours, that sits unused all day? Thanks to a new partnership between GM and RelayRides, you can now rent it out!
RelayRides is a web-based car-sharing service, but unlike similar groups such as car2go and Zipcar, it doesn’t have any vehicles of its own. Instead, members make their own cars available, at times when they don’t need them themselves. The group screens potential renters and provides liability insurance for each rental, while members receive 60 percent of what renters pay to use their car. Rental rates are set by the members providing the car, who also have the opportunity to approve or decline each rental request.
As part of the new arrangement (which was previewed in January), owners of OnStar-equipped GM cars can now register their vehicle with RelayRides via the OnStar website. Using a smartphone app, renters can then reserve the car, locate it, and even unlock it. If a spare ignition key has been left waiting inside the car, this means that renters and car-providers don’t even need to meet in person.
This marks the first time that third party developers have made use of the OnStar API (application program interface), but it certainly shouldn’t be the last – GM plans to make the API available to other developers in coming months.