In a couple of months, General Motors will be launching a pilot program which will enable car owners to rent their cars when it is not in use. Bloomberg dubs it as the Airbnb for cars. The automaker will be using its Maven car sharing unit to run the pilot P2P car rental program.
If the pilot is successful, GM will consider a larger scale roll-out. This idea, of course, isn’t new as several startups (Turo and Getaround) have already embarked on similar business models to help car owners to offset the cost of car ownership.
This isn’t the first time car makers have considered the model as Tesla themselves also envisioned a future where peer-to-peer (P2P) car sharing becomes more prevalent in the future.
“You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost,” Musk wrote back in 2016. “This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla.”
Where it will make more sense is in developing countries where car ownership costs are extremely high. Being able to rent out your vehicle to offset the overall cost of car ownership can play a good role to help folks who probably spend most of their time in the office whilst letting their vehicles sit in parking lots all day long. There will be initial doubts such as insurance coverage and whether to let someone else drive your car but Airbnb also faced the same challenges and now look where they are now.