Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Jessica Leber

A View from Jessica Leber

Share-Your-Car Startup RelayRides Acquires New Hardware

Making it easier for people to rent their own cars could lead to growth in car sharing.

  • May 14, 2013

With peer-to-peer car sharing, it is getting easier and easier to get away without owning a car in a city. But one barrier to growth of these kinds of marketplaces is the need to transfer the key. 

The startup RelayRides announced today it would acquire a smaller but similar company, Wheelz, in part for its “DriveBox” hardware that allows people to unlock a car with a card or mobile app. Keyless entry makes it easier for renters, and if the box can be simple and cheap to install, might not be much of a hassle to car owners who aim to make money by renting out their unused car. 

Already, RelayRides has been trying to make access easier. It works with General Motors, also an investor, to allow car owners with the OnStar service to grant entry to their car remotely via a mobile app or text. The company says, today, its marketplace includes several thousand cars available across 1,500 cities (though surely concentrated in a few major metro areas). 

Car-sharing could make a dent in overall road congestion and sales for car manufacturers, if done at a larger scale than it is today. According to the firm Frost and Sullivan, for example, each available shared vehicle in the U.S. replaced an average of 15 personal vehicles in 2009. 

RelayRide’s goal is to make a car available within a 10 minute walk of 100 million people’s homes by the end of 2015. It sounds like a lofty ambition, but this acquisition may help put it on its way.

Want to go ad free? No ad blockers needed.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.