The Israeli city of Tel Aviv is well known for its buzzing night life, its beaches and… being a truly horrible place to find a parking space. One startup is trying to tackle this problem head on with a car that can literally transform itself whilst on the move. The car is called the CT and it can change its width ‘on the go’ to meet the driver’s needs. It’s the first car in the world to offer this ability.
Two of the founders of City Transformer, Asaf Formoza (CEO) and Gideon Goldwine (CTO) were studying at Ben-Gurion University and were sharing the same challenging issue of daily parking hunts that wasted up to one or two hours a days. They starting mulling an early concept and established a company that became City Transformer. That early concept was a smart vehicle designed to fill the gap between a bike and a scooter but with the safety and protection of a car.
“Cars just don’t make sense in cities. It doesn’t take much observation to notice that. It doesn’t make sense to drive 4.5m long, 1.5 ton car just to carry a single person and and their hand-bag. It is not sustainable anymore for our ever growing cities,” says Udi Meridor, Chief Innovation Officer and another of the company’s co-founders.
In an interview with Auto Futures, Meridor says he believes that cars in cities causes us to lose time due to parking hunts and standing in traffic. They lose us money because of high parking costs and paying for over priced cars that don’t serve our needs. And they diminish our quality of life as we end up getting frustrated, being late and losing precious time that could be spent with loved ones.
The CT is a two-seater which is powered by electric batteries. The company says it offers the driver the safety and the feeling of driving a car and, at the same time, offers the convenience of parking a motorcycle.
“It is a smart hybrid solution designed to bring back the freedom of driving in the city,” says Meridor.
By clicking on the operating touchscreen CT reduces or extends its platform width via a patented folding mechanism. This allows the driver to save time and energy on searching for parking. It can fold down to 1m in width so it can as fit into a motorcycle parking space. It can also fit into designated narrow traffic lanes. It’s completely emission free and the company says it’s optimized for the future. It will be launched with autonomy stage 3 capabilities. Full autonomy will come at a later stage.
Meridor says: “CT is aimed at city dwellers. people that are driving cars inside cities, people that think green, and that are open to save on today’s car’s expense – maintenance, parking, fuel… Another main market we are targeting is car sharing fleets – as CT has numerous advantages to offer around for market over existing cars and mobility solutions.”
The CT’s first pilot is to take place within Tel Aviv. “CT is planned to be launched for the public – in Europe prior to targeting North America and Asian markets. The pilot is planned to take place late at 2019, or the beginning of 2020, and further production and distribution is planned for a year later.”
Meridor believes City Tranformer and its folding car concept can make an impact on the way we get from A to B within cities. “We do have our eyes on the growing marketing of micro-mobility and especially e-bikes and e-scooters. People are tired of cars within cities and therefore go for the alternative, although they understand they are less safe, not weather protected and not an ideal solution for personal mobility inside cities. We believe that we have the solution that will allow them to enjoy the best of both worlds.”
He adds: “We believe that there is a real chance here to change the way people commute inside cities, as well as the cities themselves; making them greener, safer, with fewer cars and more people on the streets.”
The jury is out on whether City Transformer and its folding car will radically transform urban mobility. But the CT is sure to turn heads when the Tel Aviv pilot gets underway.