Last week I was in Berlin, avoiding being creepily spoon-fed at the Lynk & Co launch event, where I learned that new Volvo/Geely car brand Lynk & Co wants to make it easy for people to take your car from you. Now they have a video dramatizing how it’s supposed to go down.
As we’ve reported before, Lynk’s big hook is that it’s building cars with an always-on internet connection and a truly keyless, smartphone-based entry and starting system that would allow owners to easily share their cars. The cars even have an interface with a big-ass SHARE button right on the screen.
In the above video, you can see one scenario that was suggested: while you’re at work, instead of your car sitting dormant, eating car-bon-bons and lounging in some opulent parking lot, that car can be out there earning money for you.
Yes, Lynk wants to make you your car’s pimp.
So, now the question is, would you want to actually do this? Let a stranger use your car while you’re at work?
I think even if you would, there’s many, many questions still yet to be answered. I brought up some of these to Lynk CEO, Alain Visser. Here’s one issue I mentioned to him:
For example, I felt that if you’re going to, essentially, AirBnB your car, you’d need a way to stash all the personal shit that everyone’s car is full of: registration papers, old mail, personal items, embarrassing prescriptions, strange pornography, all that stuff that you want to keep private.
I suggested the cars would need some sort of strong, physically-lockable lockbox that all your shit could be easily raked into when you decide to make your car shareable. As I thought about it, I realized that there really should be a whole option package for people who intended to share their cars extensively, a package that replaced the lovely and novel interior materials with hard-wearing, washable rubbers and vinyls and plastics.
You really have no idea if you’re renting out your own car if someone is holding cockfights in the trunk or just decides to live a personal fantasy of wetting themselves while driving. The Shareable 01 Edition would be ready for anything.
I was told the company is already working with insurance companies to be sure everything is set regarding insurance, and I asked if Lynk would be providing a means to vet potential car-sharers, take their money, let people know your car was available, and so on.
While no details were given, at least David Green, their Chief Digital Officer, seemed confident they’d have systems in place, and you wouldn’t have to just post an ad on Craigslist and hope they left some cash or a Bitcoin IOU in the glovebox.
There’s also a lot of trust involved here: will the person get the car back on time for you?
Even if we assume there’s an ironclad system in place, I’m still on the fence if I think people will want to do this. Perhaps they expect that their target market has a less emotional bond with their cars, and are more likely to feel comfortable letting it be driven by strangers?
Most people I know treat their cars as quite intimate possessions and spaces; that’s why so many people feel so violated when a car is broken into: for many of us, a car is quite a personal space.
Still, maybe the money is really good? Maybe this would make a lot of sense? Would any of you be up for sharing your car like this? Do you really trust that dude in the man-bun in that video to get your car back without it smelling like spearmint vape smoke and Slim Jims?
Would you be into this?