Elon Musk has remarked that he hopes Tesla will be able to produce autonomously driving cars that can be rented out for rideshare programs like Uber or Lyft. That may be many years down the road, but recent innovations in rideshare technology are making car rentals more convenient than ever to tide us over until then. The Toyota Kinto Share program is one such innovation, and it has big plans with the Toyota Mirai moving forward.
What is the Toyota Kinto Share program?
Contract work has become a booming industry within the past five years, especially when it comes to ridesharing or app-based delivery services. Drivers can make excellent money, work as little or as much as they’d like, and set their own schedule. It’s an appealing gig for many reasons, though several barriers stand in the way when looking to enter these freelance positions.
Perhaps the most significant barrier is that rideshare or delivery drivers either have to have their own car or have access to one. The expense of monthly car payments and insurance fees simply isn’t feasible for a large share of the population. According to the Toyota Kinto website, this program seeks to provide prospective drivers with access to cars they can use to become contractors by providing flexible, self-service car rentals with hourly, daily, or weekly rates. This self-service model is also available for people who need to rent a car – like the Toyota Mirai – for other purposes too.
How does Kinto Share work?
Renting a car is typically a painful, expensive endeavor that leaves renters buried in paperwork. Kinto Share sought to take the headache out of renting a car by developing an easy-to-use app, where drivers submit a short application process that only takes a few minutes. After one’s application is approved, which can take a few days, drivers can use the app to choose a car at a nearby location. You can then use your phone as the car’s key, eliminating the need to check in with an attendant and wait in long, excruciating lines.
Kinto Share is also a much cheaper alternative in many scenarios, as hourly rates start as low as $5.50, and daily rates start at $45.00. Plus, Kinto Share comes with 24/7 support and roadside assistance just in case you find yourself in a less-than-ideal scenario. Kinto Share was previously only available in Southern California and Texas, but it is expanding to Vancouver, BC, and offering more vehicle options. The most notable of these is the hard-to-find and innovative Toyota Mirai.
An overview of the Toyota Mirai
Why would anyone go out of their way to rent a Toyota Mirai? The Toyota Mirai is a zero-emission car fueled by hydrogen. This is one of the few cars on the market that runs entirely on hydrogen and produces clean water as a byproduct. Hydrogen fuel may not be as widely available as electric charging stations, but it only takes about 10 minutes for a hydrogen-powered vehicle to be refilled.
Besides being unique in its fuel consumption, the Toyota Mirai is one stylish vehicle. From the outside, it looks slick, sporty, and futuristic. This is in sharp contrast to the other unattractive alternative-fuel cars manufacturers produced at the beginning of the shift away from gasoline. If that wasn’t enough, the Toyota Mirai is also surprisingly fun to drive, thanks to its athletic, rear-wheel-drive setup and 182-hp engine.
Drivers can rent a Toyota Mirai for up to four weeks if they are driving for Lyft for just under $200 per week. This price will, unfortunately, increase to $288 per week in August 2021, according to Car and Driver. This price includes the cost of insurance and maintenance but not fuel.