Patt Morrison for October 11, 2011

Need to make some extra cash? How about renting your car by the hour?

RelayRides

A mobile app would allow RelayRides members to unlock G.M. vehicles that are registered with the start-up and subscribed to OnStar.

A lot of things can be rented by the hour, and now General Motors wants your car to be one of them.

GM is teaming up with a small San Francisco based company, RelayRides, to offer peer-to-peer, short-term car rentals. Here’s how it works: starting next year, GM owners who subscribe to OnStar post their vehicle for “rent” on RelayRides’ website. The owner sets the price and supplies the gas. A renter uses OnStar’s global positioning technology to locate the vehicle, and then he or she uses a smartphone “app” to unlock the car and get the key hidden inside.

RelayRides takes a 35 percent cut and offers a $1-million dollar insurance policy. If things goes well, the program may be expanded to other cities. What’s in it for GM? The auto manufacturer hopes the program will give them a bit more visibility and market share in California. The big question is, will it work? GM’s vice chairman for corporate strategy, Stephen Girsky, admits that “peer-to-peer car sharing is in its infancy. We don’t know if it’s going to work or not.”

WEIGH IN:

What about you? Do you leave your car sitting in the parking lot at work for eight hours or more a day? Would you be up for making a little extra cash renting it out by the hour, or does the thought of someone driving around in your car make you a little queasy?

Guests:

Andre Haddad, CEO of RelayRides

Bob Tiderington, manager at GM Business Initiatives


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