Denso International America, Inc recently conducted a MDrive study, which found that electric car sharing could shape the future of mobility. The renowned automotive supplier focused on the effect of car sharing for people who live, work or frequent one particular location.
The MDrive Study
Denso teamed up with the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Detroit-based NextEnergy, to focus on the effect electric vehicle car sharing might have on vehicle design, the future of mobility and personal transportation.
Studying The Millennials
30 students of the University of Michigan-Dearborn students who lived at The Union at Dearborn shared three Ford Focus Electric vehicles for a six-month period as part of the study.
The MDrive App
The students used a specially developed MDrive App, which is available on Google play store allows the participants to reserve access to a set of three fully-electric Ford Focus vehicles (parked in designated spots with charging stations) that can be reserved for use on a day-to-day basis to run errands, meet friends for dinner or even catch a concert downtown.
Part of the MDrive study is to promote car sharing amongst users and the most efficient use of the available vehicles, MDrive app will also allow users to swap or share request other participants in the study. The person with the original reservation will have the power to accept or deny the request. All of this will be updated automatically.
Getting Millenials’ Feedback
The electric Ford Focus used for the study is equipped with onboard diagnostics equipment to capture real-time data, and dashboard cameras to capture videos of the user experience. Students were also asked to provide detailed feedback and suggestions for technologies that are likely to be most needed in future car share vehicles through short surveys and online forums.
The information obtained was used by DENSO researchers to identify common benefits and challenges experienced by users. This will help the company to come up with user-oriented designs of future car sharing technologies.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Michael Bima, a lead engineer in the North American Research and Engineering Center at DENSO International America said that the study reinforced the idea that Electric Vehicle Car Sharing has become increasingly viable as a personal transportation alternative, and it is groups who share common interests who are likely to get the maximum benefit.
Michael Bima added, “For car sharing to reach its full potential, manufacturers and car share service providers need to address the efficiency and convenience for the end user– drivers should be able to quickly and easily access the vehicle, adjust their settings, and be on their way. Vehicle range and charging become areas of focus when you add electric vehicles, as well.”
DENSO will present the study results at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ World Congress Experience 17. In addition to showcasing one of the study’s cars in DENSO’s booth (#3002), participants including Matt Felice – a new DENSO employee who drove to his interview using the shared vehicle – will be on-hand to discuss the experience.
SOURCE DENSO Corporation