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GM, Lyft expand driver rentals to California, Colorado

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. said Monday it is expanding its Express Drive short-term vehicle rental service for Lyft Inc. drivers to markets in Colorado and California.

The program, which makes some GM vehicles available to Lyft drivers to rent on a short-term basis, will launch in San Francisco this summer and in Los Angeles by the fall. It also will add Denver by this fall.

GM said the new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, a pure electric vehicle it has said will have a range of more than 200 miles and is slated to go into production later this year, will be part of the program as well as the 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

The Detroit automaker invested $500 million in the ride-hailing company Lyft earlier this year and as part of that investment rolled out the Express Drive service in Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Express Drive rentals begin at $99 a week, and include insurance and maintenance. Lyft currently provides ride-sharing services in the U.S. in more than 200 cities.

A GM spokeswoman said Monday that more than 500 vehicles are active in Express Drive and thousands of drivers are on a waiting list.

GM and Lyft said that more than 130,000 people in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver markets have applied to become Lyft drivers, but did not meet qualifications for their vehicles.

“Expanding Express Drive provides opportunities to hundreds of thousands of new potential Lyft drivers and continues to make car ownership optional for both drivers and passengers” John Zimmer, Lyft’s president and co-founder, said in a statement. “We are also excited to be adding electric vehicles to Express Drive, which is an important milestone for Lyft and the industry.”

GM President Dan Ammann said GM is pleased with the success of the program. “The Chevrolet Bolt EV and Volt are a perfect fit for ride sharing, offering very low operating costs and a wide range of connectivity features for both drivers and passengers,” he said in a statement.

Speaking Monday at a Fortune Magazine technology conference in Colorado, Ammann declined to say if GM would ever purchase Lyft.

“The alliance has been significantly more successful than we originally anticipated,” he said.

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