Maven is General Motors’ personal mobility brand. Essentially, it’s the answer to outfits like Zipcar and car2go that the General set up a little while back. Maven has expanded its programs in Atlanta, from just the Lyft Express Drive program to Maven City car-sharing services.
In just over 11 months, Maven has launched three car-sharing or ride-based products and has expanded into 17 cities across the United States and Canada.
Those cities include Ann Arbor (the one in Michigan), Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Jersey City (the one in New Jersey), Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. You’ll note that these are all large cities, both in terms of population, but also size. Most of them also have pretty good public transportation systems too (most of them, Los Angeles I’m looking at you!).
These are all places where you don’t really need a car until you need a car. Most of your daily activities can be taken care of either on foot, or using ubiquitous public transit. Every so often though, you need a car. You go shopping and buy something big. Your beloved aunt Evie, still alive and kicking at 87, flies in for a visit. What, you’re gonna make her ride the bus?
No, you go get a Zipcar or a car2go or, GM is hoping, a Maven account, rent a car for a few hours, get the job done, drop the car off, and don’t worry about it any longer. So far it seems to be working out for GM and Maven. They have more than 20,000 members that have traveled 61 million miles. So if it works in far flung and exotic locales like Jersey City and Waterloo, Ontario, why not Atlanta?
“Atlanta loves cars,” says GM, and Maven gives urban Atlanta dwellers a nice selection of rides to choose from: hybrid electrics to sedans and SUVs. And, as is the case in this market segment, the cost of doing this is actually pretty low. Hourly rates start at $8 per, and that includes gas and insurance, so that’s not all that bad, when you consider all the costs are paid for up front.
At the moment, Maven in Atlanta has 50 vehicles at more than 20 locations throughout the city. Registered members can reserve one via the Maven app. In case your an Atlantan . . . Atlantian? . . . Aleutian? . . . Alsatian? . . . anyway, for a person that lives in Atlanta, Maven’s initial offerings can be found in Ponce City Market, Midtown, West Midtown, Downtown, Old Fourth Ward, Virginia-Highland, East Atlanta Village, and Inman Park.
Your choice of rides includes the Chevrolet Cruze and Cruze Hatchback, Malibu, Tahoe, and Volt; GMC Acadia and Yukon, along with the Cadillac ATS and Escalade. At this point, GM treats Maven as a semi-experimental but ongoing thing. In addition to working in real world city environments, GM also has campus car-sharing locations at GM do Brasil headquarters in São Caetano do Sul, and at GM Australia/Holden headquarters.
São Caetano do Sul makes a ton of sense since it’s right in the Middle of São Paulo. Have you ever driven in São Paulo? Shoot, have you ever read about driving in São Paulo? The place is completely nuts. It’s like a chaos theory experiment gone horribly awry. Imagine the Ben-Hur chariot race scene and you get 90% of the picture. Also, have you ever noticed that most Brazilian race car drivers come form São Paulo? Coincidence? I think not!
Anyhoo, if you live in Atlanta, Maven looks like a viable car-sharing outfit.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.