Back at the start of the year, General Motors (GM) and ride-sharing service Lyft announced a partnership to develop a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles. The first fruit of that partnership is not focused on autonomy, but allows Lyft drivers to hire GM cars.

Hiring cars via the Express Drive program will cost from US$99 per week, with flexible terms for weekly hires of up to eight weeks at a time. Comparable services from Uber and HyreCar cost from around $210 and $200 respectively.

Insurance and maintenance costs are included in the rates and the scheme will be delivered using GM's Maven infrastructure. For drivers in Chicago, where the program will be first rolled out, completing 65 rides a week will mean no rental cost to pay at all.

Express Drive addresses a specific need for would-be Lyft drivers. Around 60,000 people in Chicago who applied to drive for Lyft have not been able to due to not having a qualifying car. Using the Express Drive service, however, they will be able to hire Chevrolet Equinox crossovers, which do qualify. Equinox features include the OnStar safety and communications system, additional connectivity features, "ample" cargo space and flexible seating.

The Express Drive program will launch in Chicago later this month, after which it will be rolled out to Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore and other US cities.