Have you ever been driving in a packed parking lot or city downtown and wished that your car could shrink down to squeeze between two parked cars? The Israeli-designed City Transformer can now make that wish come true. This 2.5-meter 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, occupying just a fraction of a standard parking space.
Though the City Transformer, with its full-width front light bar and angular cabin, is not a direct replica of the Renault Twizy, its 250 cm (98 in) length and 140 cm (55 in) width are close to the Twizy’s 234 x 124-cm (92 x 49-in) dimensions. The City Transformer, however, has the ability to “suck in its gut” and slim down enough to zip around narrow alleyways and squeeze into parking spaces that are too small for other vehicles. The adjustable-width chassis enables the wheels to be even with the body, resulting in a 100-cm (39.3-in) overall tire-to-tire width. This adjustment can be made while the car is in motion, allowing drivers to switch seamlessly between two-wheeler-like maneuverability and four-wheeler stability.
Although the City Transformer doesn’t make the Twizy look significantly larger, those 24 cm (9.5 in) could make a significant difference when attempting to fit a vehicle into a tiny space left by two poorly parked SUVs. One potential design flaw of the City Transformer is that the side mirrors, although small, appear to extend slightly beyond the minimum 100-cm width. It is hoped that they can at least fold in to prevent damage when taking full advantage of the Transformer’s ultra-slim build.
The City Transformer team believes that this shape-shifting tiny commuter is a crucial step towards alleviating worsening gridlock in major cities around the world. Transformer drivers are estimated to have ten times easier access to parking spaces on crowded city streets. The team emphasizes that traditionally-sized cars with large powertrains are excessive for city dwellers, who spend most of their time in parking lots, often driving with one or more unoccupied seats, and carrying around unnecessary power when averaging 17 km/h (10.6 mph) on city streets.
In contrast, the City Transformer has a modest 20-hp electric powertrain composed of a single 10-hp motor at each rear wheel. These motors offer a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) with the wheels pushed out, or 40 km/h (25 mph) with them retracted. The range is estimated between 120 and 180 km (75 and 112 miles), with the battery able to fast-charge to 80 percent in just 30 minutes. The car has a turn diameter of 8.5 m (27.9 ft) and relies on front and rear disc brakes, antilock braking, and electronic stability to stop.
The 158-cm-high (62-in) City Transformer has an enclosed cabin with two wing doors, air conditioning, and seating for two adults in tandem. A version for one adult driver and two children is also planned. The design includes one or more airbags for safety.
City Transformer introduced its production-ready car at the IAA Mobility show in Munich after developing its first prototype in 2019. The company aims to expand production through manufacturing partnerships and deliver the first customer cars in 2024. Preorders are currently available, allowing customers to lock in a special price of €16,000 (approximately US$17,675) with a €150 down payment.
You can watch the City Transformer in action, showcasing its track-adjusting capabilities, in the video below. This innovative electric microcar offers an eco-friendly and practical solution for navigating and parking in congested urban environments. Its unique shape-shifting design addresses the ever-increasing challenge of finding parking spaces in crowded city streets and has the potential to revolutionize urban transportation.
In summary, the City Transformer is a promising addition to the electric vehicle market, particularly for urban dwellers who face parking and maneuvering challenges on a daily basis. Its adjustable-width chassis allows for the best of both worlds, combining the stability of a four-wheeler with the maneuverability of a two-wheeler. With production set to begin in 2024, the City Transformer could soon become a common sight in cities across the globe, helping to alleviate parking woes and contributing to a greener, more efficient urban transportation landscape.
Source: City Transformer