Automotive

Electric microcar shape-shifts for moto maneuvering, car stability

Electric microcar shape-shifts...
At a minimum of one meter wide, the City Transformer looks like a car staring in a fun house mirror
At a minimum of one meter wide, the City Transformer looks like a car staring in a fun house mirror
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The City Transformer has an enclosed interior with airbag, heat and A/C and two seats
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The City Transformer has an enclosed interior with airbag, heat and A/C and two seats
Like other EVs, the City Transformer rides on a skateboard chassis ... only this one adjusts in width
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Like other EVs, the City Transformer rides on a skateboard chassis ... only this one adjusts in width
The widened chassis provides the improved stability needed for higher speed
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The widened chassis provides the improved stability needed for higher speed
Tel-Aviv-based City Transformer rethinks the everyday commuter as we know it
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Tel-Aviv-based City Transformer rethinks the everyday commuter as we know it
The chassis adjusts on the fly, making it easy to shift from a speedy country drive to slow, nimble city driving
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The chassis adjusts on the fly, making it easy to shift from a speedy country drive to slow, nimble city driving
At a minimum of one meter wide, the City Transformer looks like a car staring in a fun house mirror
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At a minimum of one meter wide, the City Transformer looks like a car staring in a fun house mirror
Dual wing doors provide entry and exit
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Dual wing doors provide entry and exit
City Transformer hopes to begin production of its first B2B cars in 2022
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City Transformer hopes to begin production of its first B2B cars in 2022
City Transformer looks to solve mobility problems in large metropolises
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City Transformer looks to solve mobility problems in large metropolises
View gallery - 9 images

Everyone who's ever driven laps around a packed parking lot or city downtown has had the thought at least once: Wouldn't it be great if my car could shrink down to squeeze between two parked cars? Finally, it can – at least if your car is the all-new Israeli-designed City Transformer. The tiny 2.5-m tandem electric commuter stands on a retractable chassis that pushes the wheels out for better driving stability at speed and pulls them in to maneuver through or park in tight spaces, taking up only a fraction of a standard parking space.

With its full-width front light bar and angular cabin, the City Transformer isn't exactly a dead ringer for the Renault Twizy, but it's hard to look at any ultra-slim urban quad-wheeler without the Twizy popping to mind. And at 250 cm (98 in) long by 140 cm (55 in) wide, the City Transformer sizes close to the Twizy's 234 x 124-cm (92 x 49-in) dimensions.

Unlike the Twizy, though, the City Transformer can suck in its gut and slim down enough to zip around alley-width old-city streets and squeeze into parking spaces too small for other vehicles. The adjustable-width chassis pulls the wheels even with the body for a 100-cm (39.3-in) overall tire-to-tire width. This adjustment can be done while the car's in motion, allowing drivers to switch on the fly between two-wheeler-like maneuverability and four-wheeler stability.

The chassis adjusts on the fly, making it easy to shift from a speedy country drive to slow, nimble city driving
The chassis adjusts on the fly, making it easy to shift from a speedy country drive to slow, nimble city driving

The City Transformer doesn't exactly make the Twizy look bloated, but those 24 cm (9.5 in) could prove quite substantial when trying desperately to shoehorn a vehicle into the tiny space left by two poorly parked SUVs. One apparent design flaw of the City Transformer is that the side mirrors, while small, appear to stick out slightly farther than the minimum 100-cm width. We hope they at least fold in to avoid any crunching when taking full advantage of the Transformer's ultra-slim build.

Tel-Aviv-based City Transformer rethinks the everyday commuter as we know it
Tel-Aviv-based City Transformer rethinks the everyday commuter as we know it

The City Transformer team sees a shape-shifting tiny commuter as an important step toward taking a bite out of the worsening gridlock in major metropolises around the world. It estimates Transformer drivers will have it 10 times easier when it comes to finding a parking space on a crowded city street and emphasizes that traditionally sized cars with large powertrains are overkill for city dwellers, spending most of their lives in parking lots, driving often with one or more seats unoccupied, and carrying around loads of power they simply don't need when averaging 17 km/h (10.6 mph) on city streets.

In contrast to a large sedan or crossover, the City Transformer has a humble 20-hp electric powertrain made up of a single 10-hp motor at each rear wheel. Those motors provide a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) with the wheels pushed out or 40 km/h (25 mph) with them retracted in. City Transformer estimates range between 120 and 180 km (75 and 112 miles) and says that the battery can fast-charge to 80 percent in 30 minutes. The car has a turn diameter of 8.5 m (27.9 ft) and relies on front and rear disc brakes to stop. It includes antilock braking and electronic stability.

Dual wing doors provide entry and exit
Dual wing doors provide entry and exit

The 158-cm-high (62-in) City Transformer has an enclosed cabin with two wing doors. Inside, the air conditioned interior seats two adults in tandem, and City Transformer also plans a version for an adult driver and two children. The design includes one or more airbags.

After developing its first prototype in 2019, City Transformer introduced its production-ready car at this month's IAA Mobility show in Munich. It plans to begin small series production for fleet customers in 2022 after getting its vehicle approved for road use under the EU's L7e classification. From there, it plans to grow production through manufacturing partnerships and deliver the first customer cars in 2024. Preorders are available now to lock in a special price of €12,500 (approx. US$14,650) with €150 down, a discount off the planned MSRP of €16,000 (approx. US$18,750).

Watch the City Transformer do its track-adjusting thing in the video below.

City Transformer CT1 - The first ever all-electric foldable urban vehicle 🚗

Source: City Transformer

View gallery - 9 images
6 comments
6 comments
Faste bob
He he, for that price, nobody but the super rich`s kids would buy it, the price should be much closer to Citroen's Ami, 4000€ not 16.000€
Michael son of Lester
US$14,650 for one of these cars that can't even venture onto a highway or US$8,061.52 for a Chevy Spark base model. Hmmm...
Chris__
This is a very clever solution to the problem of instability of narrow microcars... just a shame it hasn't solved the OTHER problem that clever solutions are expensive and will never be viable in a budget market segment!
PBZ
@Michael, in the US the Spark starts at $13,400, not $8k.
-dphiBbydt
It would be fun if it expanded the whole body so that it went from a single seater in to a two seater :)
Towerman
Price is a joke for one, for two it's Ugly.
Other than the above 2 its a great concept that won't sell because of the above 2 reasons ! Fix these 2 problems and it's game on.