AirBnB For Cars: Sharing Your Ford With Strangers

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Peer to peer car sharing pioneered by Ford.

It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your car is?

If you are like most people, your car is sitting unused right now – and for much of its day. Ford is seeking to change that model, partnering with Getaround, a car sharing service where you let complete strangers drive your vehicle.

OK, that sounds a little out there to be sure, but right now, the pilot program is in cities that march to their own beat: San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and Portland. And an outlier, Washington, DC. I learned about the pilot program at the Further with Ford conference held last month in Palo Alto.

The car sharing works via an app, with a key hidden in the car, so the vehicle’s owner never even meets the person driving his car for the day, a weekend, or just a few hours. It’s like Zipcar, but with privately owned cars. Ford offered membership to owners of late model cars only, so renters are assured of getting new vehicles to drive.

Getaround could encourage millennials, who are often reluctant to commit to a car, to buy a car and offset its cost with the extra revenue.

And how does the insurance work you ask?

Getaround, which takes a hefty 40% cut of the rental fee, pays for the insurance, along with the technical support. Car owners also pay a monthly fee to be listed; this is mainly to encourage owners who sign up to offer their car for rental. After all, what good is a car sharing service if no cars are available?

How this differs from Zipcar

  • Unlike Zipcar, Getaround owners set their own prices, though the company does suggest a range. If you have a convertible, you can likely charge a premium on a summer weekend.
  • As a Zipcar renter, you have a window of about four hours before a rental to change your mind, and about 24 hours if you are renting for a full day. With Getaround, you generally have a day before a rental to change your mind.
  • Renters pay to refill a gas tank, and have to find parking that is near where the car originally was; Zipcar renters have to return cars to the exact garage or parking lot from which they rented.

Smartphone opens

Car keys are going the way of the pencil, being replaced by key fobs that just need to be near by the unlock and start cars. With Getaround, you unlock the car with an app, then use the key that is hidden inside.

Would you offer your car to be driven by strangers? Why or why not?

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell