There’s a New Maven in Town

. September 9, 2016.
maven-ann-arbor-family

A maven is an expert and General Motors is betting that their new venture, Maven, is the expert car-sharing service you and your family need. This Labor Day weekend General Motors sent Ann Arbor Family on a Michigan adventure with their Maven service to learn more about it. We took a quick weekend trip to Holland, Michigan in their Chevy Tahoe and I’m ready to share the details.

How does Maven work and where?

Maven is a car-sharing service that you can pay for by the hour or day. It’s currently free to join, insurance is included, and there are no added fuel costs. You download the Maven app to your phone, look for a car close by, reserve it, and then once it’s your reserved time you unlock the car with your phone. It’s completely keyless. You can even remote start it to get it ready for you while you walk or drive over to the car.

They have a selection of cars from the GM fleet to choose from such as the Chevrolet Volt and Malibu, or larger options like the Tahoe. Pricing starts at a very reasonable $8 an hour and only $3.50 for the initial 30 minutes for one-way trips, plus taxes.

Pros and cons

There are some very real pros to using Maven, especially if you don’t have your own car. There are currently 18 locations all over Ann Arbor, many on or near UM campus, and they are always adding more. The cars are all brand new models which means they come with the latest tech. The Chevy Tahoe had built-in wifi, leather seats, XM radio, all the latest safety features (wasn’t a fan of the vibrating seats); it was fully loaded. You don’t see that with other rental car options! It’s easy to get started and the app makes things very seamless.

The main con presented itself right away when I opened the car door – cigarette smoke. The car had clearly been used by someone who smoked heavily with the windows closed. It was overpoweringly stale and lingered the entire weekend. It is of course against the rules to smoke inside a Maven vehicle and this is most likely an issue with any shared service. I was also nervous at first to be driving away from Ann Arbor without a car key, relying on my cell phone to remain charged so that I could drive the car. However, I got used to it and there weren’t any issues (but I still prefer having a key).

Insider tip

One of the features of Maven I’m most excited about and will most likely use again is their new one-way trips. You can now drive one way between several Ann Arbor locations, from Ann Arbor to downtown Detroit, and also to the Detroit airport. This means you can reserve your car and pick it up in Ann Arbor, drive to the airport at your convenience, potentially pay less than $15, and don’t have to pay for parking at the airport! This is potentially a huge savings for a family. One caveat, there must be a car available in Ann Arbor and a vacant spot for the car at the airport which may limit availability, but they are expanding the service.

Overall

I would definitely choose Maven in place of a car rental any day. It’s incredibly fast to reserve, easy to pick-up and you get a lot more car, so to speak, for the money. The features made the car very comfortable for a road trip with a baby. Overall, the service is very cool and I could see it being useful for a variety of situations. Maven is a great way to see more of Michigan if you don’t own a reliable car, or want a larger, more comfortable vehicle for the trip. If you need to make a trip anywhere that AAATA doesn’t easily reach a Maven rental could be a great option.

Visit mavendrive.com for more information.