Renting a car just to use it as you drive for a ride-sharing app is nothing new, but the setup is getting some high-pressure tweaks in Vancouver, Canada, thanks to Toyota and Lyft. The gist? For $200 a week you can get behind the wheel of a hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai, and then it’s up to you to hustle your way to profits.
The plan is being operated by Toyota’s Kinto Share program, which will charge eligible Lyft drivers $198 plus fees and taxes for seven days in a Mirai. Drivers can reserve a Mirai for up to a month at a time, and Kinto covers the insurance and scheduled maintenance, but not the fuel, for the rental during this time. You also don’t get any keys with this rental, as access to the car is done completely through your smartphone and the Kinto Share app. Also, you have to go to a local Toyota dealership to pick up the car, and it turns out that the $200-a-week cost is only good until late summer. The rates jump to $288 a week after August 1, 2021.
The benefits of driving a hydrogen-powered car are similar to a battery EV since they both produce zero emissions. An H2 vehicle can be refilled in less than 10 minutes as hydrogen stations, and Lyft notes there are three such stations in and around Vancouver. Lyft said that around 20 percent of all of the vehicles involved in the Lyft platform in the Metro Vancouver region are either zero-emission vehicles or hybrids.
The Mirais available through this deal are the first-gen models, specifically from the 2019 model year, not the much better-looking second-gen vehicle which, in the U.S. at least, is only sold in California. Kinto makes a note in its FAQ that that 2019 Mirai does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But where do they get refueled? Lyft supplies the addresses of three hydrogen refueling stations that are up and running in metro Vancouver.
Kinto did not respond to our questions about a possible expansion of the Mirai service to the U.S., where it would really only work in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Kinto currently operates two U.S. locations, in Southern California and Fort Bend, Texas, where it offers “weekly, daily, & hourly car rentals for Uber, delivery, & personal use.” In the U.S., Kinto offers a number of Toyota vehicles, including hybrids, starting at a cost of $5.50 an hour or $215 a week, plus taxes.