Getaround is a car sharing service like Zipcar, except that it uses people's private vehicles instead of a fleet. It's a bit like AirBnB for cars. Getaround is part of the "collaborative consumption" movement, which believes that if we could share things we don't use most of the time it would be better for us in a lot of ways. Sharing cars means less cars on the road, which means less pollution, and generally less "stuff."
I'd never used Getaround and a few weeks ago I was trying to figure out why. I pinged Jessica, one of the founders, and told her that what I'd realized was that I didn't want to have to go to someone's house and "borrow" their car. The thought of actually interacting with the owner of a car was awkward enough that it had kept me from trying the service.
Jessica told me about a new type of rental they now have called "Instant," where I can use the Getaround mobile app to rent a car instantly and unlock it with my phone, meaning I wouldn't have to meet the owner or wait for approval. (This dovetails really well into my recent blogs about the power of mobile and apps to transform businesses, and how Fortune 1000 CEOs are going to get fired for missing it.) Getaround Instant was exactly what I was looking for, so my brother-in-law Dal and I decided to give it a try.
I had a few hiccups that Getaround is still working through (for example, Getaround verifies a driver's driving history with the DMV in real-time, and since my last name has a hyphen in it, but the DMV doesn't account for hyphens, my rental request initially broke Getaround's booking system. But both Jessica and Matt were very proactive at resolving these speed bumps). Overall the process was incredibly smooth:
- Book a vehicle on Getaround.com or using the mobile app
- Go to the vehicle (the Tesla Model S I rented was in a parking garage) and use the app to unlock the doors
- Get in and drive; the meter starts
- Return the vehicle; the meter stops and you pay with a credit card already on file
Side note: I'm a huge fan of Tesla and the Model S, and the opportunity to actually drive one for just $25/hr was what got me to try Getaround. If you'd like to learn more about the Model S you can check out this blog I wrote about a Tesla factory tour I took and this blog I wrote about how I bought TSLA stock because I believe in the founder, Elon Musk.
I also got Getaround to offer my readers a special coupon. Use code "drodio25" to get $25 off a rental, for up to 25% off the total rental bill. The code is good through June 15th, 2013.
The Model S is an incredible car. I mean, truly incredible. Before you go out and by a new car, rent one from Getaround first, so you can experience it. I personally am going to have a very hard time going back to gasoline vehicles after having experienced the Tesla.