Toyota is launching a car-sharing service called Hui on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The service, which is described as a complement to mobility offerings like bike rentals, public transportation and ride-sharing apps, lets people reserve and unlock a Toyota or Lexus vehicle via a smartphone app.
Hui essentially resembles existing car-share systems like the well-known Zipcar or General Motors' . Cars are parked at specific reserved parking spaces, and members then use the Hui smartphone app to locate and reserve a car ahead of time. Using a technology that Toyota calls Smart Key Box, the smartphone then works as a key to unlock and start their rented vehicle all through the smartphone app.
Hui will offer two pricing plans. The first to launch is Elite, which will have an as-yet undisclosed monthly membership cost, though that fee will be waived for the first three months of the program. Renters will then pay depending on the vehicle they choose. Aor will set you back $9.95 per hour or $79.60 per day, a will be $13.95 per hour or $111.60 per day, and a Lexus RX, or will cost $19.95 per hour or $159.60. Hui also plans to offer a Freedom pay-as-you-go membership plan, which won't have a monthly fee but will instead charge higher hourly and daily rental rates.
Of course, those fees include insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, all taxes and maintenance for the vehicles. The Hui cars all come with a universal gas payment card, too, so that renters can fill the vehicles up before returning them.
At launch, Hui will feature more than 25 parking locations with about 50 cars around Honolulu. The company promises that the service will be "more convenient" than traditional car-rental companies because gas is included and the app will make for smoother, easier transactions.
"Everything can be done through the Hui app. From booking to drop off, our members never have to talk to anyone," Hui director Peter Fukunaga said in a statement.
The Hui program is a joint venture between Toyota Connected North America and Servco Pacific, Toyota's new-car distributor in Hawaii. You can find more information on the service, which offers its smartphone app for both Apple iOS and Android devices, at DriveHui.com.