Car owners can now get their vehicles to pay for themselves

28 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Car owners who get their vehicles to pay for themselves – by renting them out.

You might have lent your lawnmower to your neighbour, or even let people you don’t know stay in your house via Airbnb. Under the program, customers who finance their vehicles through Ford Motor Credit will be able to rent their vehicle to pre-screened drivers for short-term use, helping to defray some monthly vehicle ownership costs. “As most vehicles are parked and out of use much of the time, this can help us gauge our customers’ desires to pick up extra cash and keep their vehicles in use,” David McClelland, Ford Credit vice president of marketing, said in a written statement.Ford last month sent letters to 14,000 of its American drivers with an unusual suggestion: For extra cash, they could rent their cars to fellow urbanites wanting a cheap ride.

A century later, the company he founded is preparing for a world where congestion demands other alternatives, including bikes, apps, public transportation and car sharing. “It can make a material difference in people’s lives by offering more choices and affordable and accessible mobility even if it is not a car,” said Ken Washington, Ford’s new head of research and advanced engineering. The program is being offered through November to Ford Credit customers in Chicago, Washington D.C., Portland, Oregon and California locations including Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco.

The idea behind the club is that people who might otherwise leave their car sitting on their driveway because, for example, they are at work, can make some money by hiring it out. Customers will be encouraged to defray the cost of their payments by leasing out their cars during short periods of downtime to prescreened drivers through Getaround.

Sensors attached to 12 bikes in Palo Alto and Dearborn gathered data on cycling patterns and conditions, creating a unique map of the city for cyclists, showing routes popular for offering shade or to be avoided due to potholes and poor lighting. Meghan Murray, Getaround’s head of community, told Fast Company, “This is the first time we’ve entered into a partnership with an OEM at this level. And this week, the car giant introduced a new foldable, battery-powered “e-bike,” the MoDe: Flex, with companion smartphone and Apple Watch apps that alert cyclists to weather, directions and even upcoming potholes.

At the moment easyCar is the only company that allows you to rent out your own car, since its only other would-be rival, Whip Car, shut up shop in 2013. From a company-wide contest came a trio of electric-assist bikes: the MoDe:Me personal commuter; MoDe:Flex enthusiast bike and the MoDe:Pro for commercial use like food delivery. We have done smaller deals with dealerships at the local level, but never at this scale.” Getaround currently operates with drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland, Washington, D.C., and Chicago markets.

For your car (Ford or otherwise) to qualify on easyCar it needs to be 10 years old or less, be worth under £25,000, and have fewer than 120,000 miles on the clock. Car owners mark the hours, days, or multiple days they can offer their vehicles up for use with Getaround, which also offers insurance policies and roadside support. Branson, wearing cruise attire during the announcement last week, said the company would aim to provide customers an “intimate” and “Virgin-like” experience. The electric assist ensures you don’t get too sweaty on the trip, can handle hills and safety cross busy intersections or roundabouts, said Tom Thompson, a powertrain engineer in the U.K. and one of the inventors. The car is covered by easyCar’s insurance (underwritten by Zenith), which replaces your standard policy for the period of the rental and means you don’t need to involve your existing insurer in the arrangement.

But in the meantime, car-sharing and taxi services like Lyft, Uber and Zipcar have exploded in cities where traffic and parking prices have soared; even kids are hailing a ride. He said Fincantieri will build three midsize vessels to be delivered in 2020, 2021 and 2022, with 1,430 cabins to accommodate more than 2,800 guests. © Copyright 2015 The Journal Gazette. In an emailed statement, Ford said they benefit from the partnership both by getting potential customers to try Ford vehicles, and from firsthand experience about “consumer interest and usage of peer-to-peer vehicle rentals.”

And autonomous-car boosters promise a future where one self-driving sedan can shepherd a big crew of passengers between work, home and everywhere else, without even needing to park. Getaround takes a 40 percent cut, but Ford gets a few perks, too: The car owners get more money to pay off loans, and the renters take a test drive that could persuade them to buy a Ford, if they ever buy a car at all. He charges £27 for a day’s hire and estimates he has made £1,500 so far. “I was a bit worried about damage to the car when I first started renting it, but I was considering getting rid of it anyway,” he says. “In fact, there have been no incidents at all, and I am making a lot more money than I imagined.”

A survey of rental car users by Enterprise which has the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, found renters need a car for daily tasks, 27% say it prompted them to shop for a new car and two thirds changed their perception of a certain model and considered purchasing a specific nameplate based on the make of their rental car. “This research reinforces our belief that every car rental is an extended test drive,” said Kurt Kohler, senior vice president, fleet, Enterprise Holdings. Another program is GoDrive, a public car-sharing pilot that offers one-way car rentals with Focus Electric cars and guaranteed parking in London where spots are elusive. Parking is increasingly a problem which led to a number of experiments that mine data to help drivers park and pay and help cities understand parking patterns and needs, said Dave McCreadie who works on electric vehicle infrastructure and the smart grid. “Parking spotter” uses sensors on cars to find spots and feed the data to a cloud-based system.

And Ford executives cited a poll by researcher Penn Schoen Berland that found one-third of American millennials were interested in renting out their stuff in order to boost their income, with most ranking “rides in a car” as the second-best rentable (behind books). Another project produced the “painless parking” app that tells you if the spot you find is legal — cities like London change the rules for spots over the course of the day — while offering a seamless way to pay for it. A shared van service for test customers in New York and London offers a guaranteed seat, fare, travel time and Wi-Fi from virtual stops across the city. Dave Hatton, global product manager, is working on an update of the MyFord moble app for release this summer to be used with the smartwatch to monitor a Ford electric vehicle. Apple or Android watches can use the app to check charge status, look for available charging stations, trip info, remote start your car, check tire pressure and alert you to move your fully charged car so you don’t pay a penalty for overstaying.

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