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Lyft and GM to rent electric vehicles to ride-hailing drivers

Lyft and GM to rent electric vehicles to ride-hailing drivers
Lyft CEO Logan Green, left, GM President Dan Ammann and Lyft President John Zimmer this year when the two companies announced their partnership. (Lyft)

Lyft's partnership with General Motors is starting to bear fruit, with the ride-hailing company announcing Monday that drivers will soon be able to rent electric vehicles from GM to drive for hire.

The program, named Express Drive, is intended to give drivers flexibility, according to Lyft's director of operations and strategy, David Rust, who said drivers can rent the vehicles for as little as a day at a time.

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The program is similar to Lyft's partnership with Hertz, in which drivers in San Francisco, Denver and Las Vegas can rent a vehicle from Hertz on a weekly basis to drive for the ride-hailing company.

A key difference between the programs, Rust said, was the vehicles to which drivers will have access: the GM fleet consists of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV and the 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

Rental costs will differ depending on how much a person drives, Rust said. Lyft will cover the cost of rental for drivers who drive for more than 30 hours a week, essentially making the vehicle free. The rental rate for those who drive fewer than 30 hours a week will be announced closer to the program's Los Angeles roll-out this fall.

The rental program comes as ride-hailing companies race to recruit as many drivers as possible in a bid for market dominance.

In Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver alone, more than 130,000 people who expressed interest in driving for Lyft didn't have a suitable car, Rust said, so programs such as Express Drive offer a new way for them to get behind the wheel.

Lyft’s competitor Uber has a similar program with Hertz and Enterprise. 

Lyft's program is available in Chicago, Boston, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and will launch in San Francisco this month, and in Los Angeles by fall.

Lyft and GM formed a partnership this year when the auto manufacturer invested $500 million in the ride-hailing start-up. The two companies are working together on an autonomous vehicle fleet.

Twitter: @traceylien

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