Want a Lyft? GM puts rental cars back to work

Chevy Equinox

GM and Lyft have teamed up to launch a new car rental program that puts would-be Lyft drivers into the driver's seat of approved GM vehicles. While GM and Lyft have partnered to integrate autonomous vehicles, Express Drive still requires a driver at the wheel.

The short-term car rentals are operated by Maven, GM's ride-sharing service that rose from the ashes of the failed Sidecar ride-hailing service. For $99 a week, anyone can rent an Express Drive car and drive for Lyft.

Drivers can rent cars for up to 8 weeks at a time. Additionally, the driver is charged 20-cents per mile, calculated by the Lyft app. If you complete at least 65 rides a week, you won't be charged the weekly rental cost, which is a pretty sweet incentive.

The rental cost includes maintenance and insurance, which is covered by Maven. Drivers are still responsible for up to $1,000 of damage if they crash the car, however. Since the insurance policy is through Maven, it shields the GM corporation from liability in the case of accidents.

Express Drive begins later this month in Chicago at first, but there are plans in the works for expanding out to Boston, Washington D.C. and Baltimore. I'm hoping the service makes its way to Seattle soon, so I can try to be a Lyft driver for a week.

GM is supplying Express Drive with Chevrolet Equinox crossover utility vehicles (CUV). While neither Lyft or GM mention the specific trim or configurations of the Equinox, the cars will have OnStar telematics and "additional connectivity features."

Expect rental-grade vehicles for use in the Express Drive fleet, as the mentioned vehicles are made up of rental cars that are six months old, and retired.

I find it odd that GM is deploying the Equinox for Express Drive, considering the Chevy Captiva, formerly known as the Saturn Vue to North Americans (Opel Antara for Europeans and Holden Captiva for Australians,) was kept around specifically for fleet rental use to preserve the resale value of the Equinox.

Express Drive will start out with 125 2016 Chevrolet Equinox CUVs in Chicago, so you might want to jump on it quickly. There is one caveat to Express Drive: only new Lyft drivers can take advantage of it. If you've been driving for Lyft with your own approved car, you're on your own.