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About 30 University of Michigan Dearborn students are part of a new Denso Corp. car-sharing study that will focus on helping design an electric vehicle specifically for people who live, work or visit one location.

The automotive supplier, which announced the study Thursday, said participating students in its MDrive study are residents of The Union at Dearborn apartment complex. The students will have free access to three Ford Focus electric vehicles for participating in the study.

Car-sharing data and user feedback will be gathered through surveys, discussion boards and recording while driving, as well as students’ thoughts on features in vehicles they may find helpful or unnecessary.

The study began a few weeks ago. Students can reserve cars through a phone reservation app to use when needed to run errands or meet up with friends or head out for dinner. The Focus EVs are parked in designated spots at charging stations.

“Our goal is to learn more about what technologies are most needed in car-share vehicles of the future,” Michael Bima, a lead engineer for Denso International America’s North American Research and Engineering Center, said in a statement. “And this will help us collect user feedback to design products for the car sharing market.”

Detroit-based NextEnergy, a nonprofit focused on advanced energy and transportation investment and job creation, will help with data collection and program management.

Denso, a supplier of electronics and information and safety systems to the auto industry, said it plans with Ford Motor Co. to reveal study results in April at the 2017 SAE World Congress in Detroit.

mburden@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2319

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