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We now live in a world where owning a car isn’t as essential as it used to be. With the rise of rideshare services, electric scooters, and increased public transit, many urbanites are choosing not to own cars in exchange for greater freedom and cost savings.
But even if you don’t own a car, there are still times when it’s useful to have access to one. Traditionally, your only option for getting access to a car if you didn’t own one was to rent a car from a company such as Budget or Enterprise. While this works, traditional car rental remains low-tech and often frustrating (not to mention expensive).
In an effort to bring car rental into the 21st century, a new wave of companies are popularizing the car-sharing model. With this setup, customers can have on-demand car access at a low hourly rate. In this article, we’re going to take a look at Maven, one of the entrants into this new car-sharing economy. We’ll explore what the service is, why you should sign up for it, and how it works.
- What Is Maven?
- 3 Reasons You Should Sign Up for Maven
- Where Is Maven Available?
- How Much Does Maven Cost?
- How Does Maven Work?
- Maven FAQ
What Is Maven?
Maven is a new venture from General Motors that aims to make it easy to live in a city without owning a car. Maven uses a fleet of vehicles owned by real people like you. You can access any of these vehicles using the Maven app. The app lets you reserve, unlock, and pay for each car rental, leading to a much quicker rental process than you’d get at a traditional rental car place.
What’s more, Maven lets you rent cars by the hour starting as low as $8. This way, you don’t have to pay for an entire day of rental if you just need a car for a few hours. And once you’re done with the car, all you have to do is park it where you picked it up, lock it with your phone, and be on your way.
But what makes Maven so great as a service, anyway? Is it worth ditching the car you own in exchange for using the service? Read on to find out.
3 Reasons You Should Sign Up for Maven
If you’ve never thought about using a car-sharing service, then the whole idea can seem kind of strange. Why would you give up the convenience of owning your own car? There are a variety of benefits that come with using Maven, all of which are compelling reasons to use the app instead of owning a car or using a normal car rental place.
1. Premium Features and Tech
To start, all Maven vehicles are new cars with the latest features. You’ll get tech such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Maven users also have 24/7 access to the OnStar service, which can help keep you safe in the event of a crash. And to make sure that you stay comfortable, most Maven vehicles come with leather seats or at least leather car seat covers.
These are all features that you can get in a new car, but the expense would be prohibitive for many people. With Maven, you always get access to the newest cars for the same affordable price.
2. Maven Includes Maintenance, Gas, and Insurance
When you own a car, there are far more expenses than just your monthly car payment. You also have to cover maintenance, gas, and insurance. When you add these costs up, you can end up with a steep yearly total. According to a study from AAA, the average yearly cost of car ownership is $8,849.
With Maven, you don’t have to worry about any of the above costs. All you pay for is the time you use the car. And assuming you don’t use a car very often, Maven will work out to be far cheaper (and more convenient) over the course of a year.
3. Maven Gives You Access to a Wide Range of Vehicles
When you use Maven, you’ll have access to a wide range of vehicles for almost any occasion. Maven vehicles break down into the following categories:
- Compact — Expect to get a Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Cruze, or other similar vehicle.
- Electric — Expect to get a Chevrolet Volt or other similar vehicle.
- Sedan — Expect to get a Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac ATS, or other similar vehicle.
- SUV — Expect to get a Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Cadillac XT5, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore, or other similar vehicle.
When you compare the above to owning a car, you can see that Maven comes out on top. Whether you need an electric vehicle for shorter trips in town or an SUV to haul a bunch of furniture, Maven has it.
Where Is Maven Available?
If you’re going to use Maven, you need to make sure it’s in your city. Here are the cities where Maven is currently available:
- Ann Arbor
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Francisco
- Toronto, Canada
- Washington, D.C.
As you can see, Maven is primarily concentrated in large urban areas. It makes sense for Maven to start in these markets, as large cities generally have the public transportation and walkability that make it practical not to own a car. But assuming that Maven becomes popular enough in the above markets, it’s likely that the service will expand to additional cities.
How Much Does Maven Cost?
We alluded to the cost-saving benefits of Maven in the previous section, but how much does the service cost on a day-to-day basis?
We should start by saying that, unlike some competing car-sharing services such as Zipcar, Maven does not charge a monthly or annual membership fee. This is appealing, especially in a world where it seems like every product and service now requires a subscription fee.
The cost to rent a Maven car depends on the type of vehicle you choose. Here’s how the costs break down based on vehicle:
- Compact — $6.50 per hour + tax
- Electric — $8 per hour + tax
- Sedan — $8.50 per hour + tax
- SUV — $13 per hour + tax
Note that the above rates can vary slightly based on your city and the vehicle you choose. We should also mention that all Maven rentals include a daily mileage cap of 180 miles. Each additional mile that you drive beyond that will cost $0.42.
Finally, be aware that even though all Maven rentals do include insurance, you’ll be responsible for paying a damage fee of up to $1,000 in order to cover any necessary repairs. You can think of this much like an insurance deductible.
How Does Maven Work?
All of the above information is great to know, but how do you actually use Maven? Luckily, the service is quite simple. Here are the steps you need to follow to rent a Maven car:
1. Sign Up for Maven
To start, you’ll need to create an account and sign up for Maven. In order to use Maven, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a valid U.S., state-issued driver’s license
- Have a clean driving record (no serious moving violations, excessive citations, or criminal offenses related to a vehicle)
2. Check the App for Nearby Cars
Using the Maven app, you can see a map of what cars are available nearby. When you see a car you like, tap on it to see more about it and reserve it. You can see an illustration of this procedure in the video below:
3. Find and Unlock Your Vehicle
After you’ve made your reservation, you’ll need to find the vehicle. The Maven app can help you do this as well with its built-in navigation features. When you arrive at the vehicle, you’ll use the Maven app to unlock it. This is also how you lock the vehicle during and after your reservation, so be sure to always have your phone charged and available while using Maven.
To see how to unlock a vehicle using the Maven app, check out the video below:
4. Enjoy Your Trip (and Return the Vehicle When You’re Done)
You can now drive your vehicle as you normally would. Feel free to take it wherever you like and enjoy all the deluxe features that your Maven vehicle has.
When you’re done with your vehicle, all you have to do is return it to the spot where you picked it up. Then, simply tap “End Trip” to finish the reservation. You can see a full illustration of this in the following video:
To conclude this guide, here are answers to some common questions about Maven:
1. What is Maven Gig?
Maven Gig is a service that allows Uber, Lyft, and delivery service drivers to get access to a car for work purposes. It uses the same technology that powers Maven, except that you get to keep the car for as long as you need. All you have to do is pay a weekly fee. You can learn more about Maven Gig in this guide.
2. What are some alternatives to Maven?
When it comes to on-demand car rental, Maven isn’t the only game in town. Competitors of Maven include Zipcar and Turo. Both use a similar app-based business model, though there are some differences to be aware of.
Zipcar works much like Maven, except that Zipcar owns the entire fleet of vehicles. And Turo is more like a traditional car rental service, except that it uses a fleet entirely of privately owned vehicles and focuses more on daily rentals.
3. Am I allowed to let my friend drive a Maven vehicle?
No, you are not. This is a violation of Maven’s Membership Agreement and could result in your account being terminated. Plus, if your friend is in an accident, Maven might not provide insurance coverage for them.
4. Why does Maven only use Chevrolet, Buick, and other GM vehicles?
Since Maven is part of General Motors, their fleet is composed of vehicles that General Motors makes. This is also why Maven is in Ann Arbor, as it’s an important part of the greater Detroit metro area where General Motors has its headquarters.
5. Does Maven include car washes?
Yes, it does. Maven will reimburse you up to $15 for a car wash. In order to receive a reimbursement, call 844-HI-MAVEN (844-446-2836). Make sure to have your original receipt with the date and time visible, as well as the reservation number for the rental in question.
6. How can I contact Maven customer support?
The best way to contact Maven customer support is via phone. You can use the same phone number that we listed above: 844-HI-MAVEN (844-446-2836).
7. Can I take Maven vehicles into other countries?
No, you cannot. You must keep your vehicle inside the United States (or, if you’re in Toronto, in Canada). This is because Maven’s insurance policy does not cover members when they cross into other countries.
8. Can I bring my pet in a Maven vehicle?
Yes, but the pet must be kept inside a locked pet carrier. This is to prevent pet hair from getting into the vehicle and causing problems for other members with pet allergies.
Note that service animals are exempt from the pet carrier rule, but the company does request you contact them beforehand if you plan to bring a service animal. This way, Maven can arrange to clean the vehicle before another member uses it.
Leave Behind the Hassle of Car Ownership With Maven
We hope this guide has shown you just how useful Maven can be, as well as how you can get started using the service. Sign up for Maven today in order to start enjoying the benefits of car-sharing.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.