Maven, a car-sharing company owned by General Motors, is now open for business in Toronto. Using a mobile app, drivers can rent vehicles by the hour, by the day or week, or even monthly. Prices start at $9.00 per hour, and include gasoline and insurance, with a coverage deductible.
Maven started in Ann Arbour, Michigan in 2016, and now operates in eleven cities across the United States. The Toronto operation is its second Canadian operation; the first opened in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario in early 2017, near GM’s technical research campus, where final testing was done on the mobile reservation system.
Maven will initially offer 40 vehicles, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu, Trax and Tahoe; GMC Acadia and Yukon; and Cadillac ATS and XT5. The electric Chevrolet Volt will also be offered.
The cars will be available in several parking locations, such as the Eaton Centre, Liberty Village, Ryerson University, Danforth Avenue, Bloor West Village, and the Financial District. All include GM’s usual technology features, including OnStar, satellite radio, and a WiFi hotspot.
After users join Maven, they use a mobile app to locate vehicles and see what model is available, reserve a vehicle, and then unlock it. The service is round-trip, and the vehicle is returned to the spot where it was picked up.
Maven will compete with other car-sharing companies operating in Toronto, including Zipcar, Enterprise AutoShare, and Car2go, as well as peer-to-peer sharing of personally-owned vehicles through programs such as Turo.
Car2go, a subsidiary of Daimler, recently added the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA alongside the Smart Twofour vehicles that initially were its only offering. The company requires users to join, but cars don’t have to be reserved. After drivers pick them up, they can leave them at any legal parking spot within the designated “home area” in Toronto’s core, or at specified spots outside of it.
However, Toronto’s city council recently voted to delay a pilot project that would allow companies, including Car2go, to purchase some of approximately 2,000 parking permits for downtown spaces with no time limits. The decision may ultimately mean Car2go could change its “free-floating” parking policy, or possibly even leave the Toronto market.