Car-Sharing

GM pulls the plug on Maven car-sharing service

Maven users logged into a smartphone app to reserve a car.

Photo courtesy of MAven

Maven is no more. The car-sharing business experiment built on the hope that people wouldn't want to own cars anymore has reached the end of the road.

Last year, Maven's parent company General Motors announced that the service was pulling out of most of its service areas. Now, in an email to subscribers, the company says that it is shuttering the service due, in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched in 2016, Maven originally stared as an on-demand car sharing program where smartphone app users were able to have access to a General Motors vehicle for a set length of time, picking it up from a designated area and dropping it off at another. That space was already occupied by ZipCar, among others.

The company pivoted, then allowing users to share their own General Motors vehicles peer-to-peer style like Turo does, as well as in the original style.

Later, with the launch of Maven Gig in 2017, the company attempted to rent out vehicles to drivers who work for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.

Maven Gig launch Austin Texas Maven Gig allowed users to utilize GM vehicles for Lyft and Uber responsibilities.Photo courtesy of Maven

In its heyday, the service was available in 17 cities. However, despite the analysts projections about millennials wanting everything as a subscription service, Maven was never really ever able to catch on. In May 2019, it was announced that service would cease in eight cities but remain available in Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington, D.C, and Toronto.

At the time of its launch, former GM President Dan Ammann said, "GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility. With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future."

Ammann currently works as the President of Cruise, a company GM purchased at the same time it launched Maven, which is also designed to transform mobility solutions. Recently, they launched the Cruise Origin, a self-driving all-electric shuttle that acts much like Mcity driverless shuttles that were used at the University of Michigan in 2019.

GM is currently gearing up to produce the Origin at their Detroit-Hamtramck plant alongside the GMC Hummer EV.

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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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Electric vehicle features

The VW ID.4 sounds futuristic

The ID.4 is VW's first electric crossover in the U.S.

VW

The Volkswagen ID.4 is finally here. The electric crossover offers compelling features, decent all-electric range, and a reasonable price. On top of all that, Volkswagen focused heavily on the electric experience with the ID.4, down to the sounds it makes in everyday operation.

Where many automakers seek to humanize electric vehicles with familiar gas engine sounds, Volkswagen hasn't bothered with any of that. Instead, the automaker's ID.4 electric crossover features several sounds that embrace the EV's place in the future of transportation.

On startup, drivers are greeted with a sound that Volkswagen says will alert them that the vehicle is ready to go. It's not at all unlike the flying saucer sounds heard in sci-fi movies decades ago, but it's a nice reminder of the ID.4's future-forward drivetrain.



In motion, VW gave the ID.4 what is known as an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, which helps alert people to the presence of a moving electric vehicle. Since the drivetrain doesn't make the same noises that a gas engine does, EVs can move almost silently at low speeds, so it's important to have some kind of warning sound.

Even the turn signal sounds received scrutiny in the ID.4's design, and while they're still fairly traditional, the sounds are subtle and pleasing overall. Beyond that, VW says it developed a library of sounds for typical vehicle control buttons and other functions that are exclusive to its electric vehicles. The goal, according to the automaker, is that the sound aligns with the vehicles' character, visual design, and features, and that people will be able to recognize a VW EV by its unique sound.

The ID.4 is just the first of several EVs that Volkswagen plans to release here in the United States. Larger family vehicles are on the horizon, and we may even see an electric revival of the legendary VW bus.

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