To get where you want to go in Atlanta, more often than not, you have no choice but to hop in a car. But for many, the array of sharing economy options — Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, and more — make getting around the roads without actually owning a car a realistic proposition.
Now for the first time, a major automaker has entered the space in Atlanta. Maven, the car sharing company that operates under the General Motors’ company umbrella, launched in the Atlanta market Thursday to provide access to brand new, seriously high-tech cars to ATLiens on a short-term basis.
Maven users log onto an app to book or reserve vehicles including hybrid, sedans, and SUVs for an hourly rate which starts at $8 — and that includes gas and insurance. Unlike Zipcar, there is no monetary membership fee.
According to Maven Atlanta’s General Manager Adam Rabinowitz, Maven provides an opportunity for GM to re-capture the millennial market. Increasingly, millennials just don’t want to be bogged down with car ownership. This is another option to help them go car-free or, as Rabinowitz puts it, “car-light.”
“We use this word car-light, which is something Maven wants to capitalize on in Atlanta. Maybe you’re a couple living in midtown, and you have two cars but you do a lot of walking, you really use the cars only on the weekends. Maven is providing more tools so that you can take that next step and ditch one of the cars, be more car-light,” Rabinowitz says.
“It’s a way to get people in GM cars that wouldn’t normally even be in a car,” he says.
Those millennials also are going to want the most high-tech solutions. Maven is meeting this demand by equipping their rental cars with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so the driver can bring up their entire cloud (think contacts, maps, messages and more) on the car screen.
“(In a Maven car) you bring your world into our world,” says Robert Tiderington, Maven’s Senior Manager for North American Operations. Every car also has OnStar for roadside assistance, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and 4G LTE wireless connectivity.
But the tech-savvy user’s experience actually starts before they get in the car. Maven has created a keyless, seamless experience where the renter locates and navigates to the car, unlocks it, and starts it — all through the app.
All of these innovations have helped Maven to be a successful experiment thus far for the over a century-old automaker, says Tiderington, who moved into the Maven team after being with the automaker for years. Atlanta is joining the ranks of 17 cities Maven operates in across the U.S. and Canada.
According to Rabinowitz, who comes from a startup background (he was formerly the Atlanta operations chief for Instacart), Maven very much operates like a startup within the corporate giant.
“(GM) is in the mindset — if you fail, fail fast and recover,” Rabinowitz says. “They understand this is the next wave in mobility and it’s been really encouraging to see how we can really operate in our own world, but with the back of GM when we need it.”
Currently Maven has 50 cars throughout neighborhoods in Atlanta, where about a third of these are SUVs. The fleet also includes two hybrid electric sedans.
Rabinowitz says the team, currently three strong in Atlanta, plans to track which vehicles are most popular with Atlanta riders and how the program does in order to measure success and determine how and whether to expand.
“We’ve certainly been doing our research. One of the things we know about Atlanta is you’ve already got this infrastructure in place — a lot of ride sharing solutions, car sharing, bike sharing, and also the public transportation. So with an open ecosystem like that, it indicates it’s a place Maven will also do well,” says Tiderington.