As any true urbanite will know, few things are more frustrating that driving around for half an hour just to find a parking spot. Luckily, with City Transformer’s newest invention, the future may hold just enough room for all of us. The Israeli company has created a foldable car that takes up just a quarter of a regular parking spot. And is if that’s not enough, it’s also eco-friendly.
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City Transformer’s invention takes up the room of a regular car on the road and that of a motorcycle when it’s parked. With the press of a button, the car goes from 1.6 meters (approx. 5’3″) to 1.0 meters (approx. 3’3″) in width. While the sides of the car compress, the cockpit never actually folds, allowing the driver to begin folding it while they are still driving, as long as the speed is low enough:
The vehicle is set to be fully electrical and light, being eco-friendly as well as space efficient. “We thought that since it’s a city car, it should also have zero emissions. We decided the best choice would be to implement our technology on a light car,” City Transformer CTO and co-founder Gideon Goldwine, tells NoCamels. Not only that, but unlike some electrical cars, this one won’t have to contend with problems of long distances, since it’s designed to be used exclusively within the city.
Seeking the universal solution
The idea for City Transformer came from the founders encountering the same problem as most city-dwellers know only too well: there was no parking to be found. Goldwine tells NoCamels: “Motorcycles looked so much more convenient but they weren’t safe.” CEO and co-founder Asaf Formoza adds: “So, we decided to create a car with the safety of a car and the convenience of a motorcycle.”
Goldwine Brought with him the knowledge and experience of building a car, since he was in charge of building the first Israeli Formula SAE car (jointly with Yaroslav Tenzer under the wings of Professor Eran Sher at Ben Gurion university). He started out with a very vague idea of how one can build a car. “I bought books from Amazon because there was very little information on go about a project like this,” Goldwine explains. The reading paid off and soon enough, the Formula SAE car was built in 2006. “Nobody thought that students could build sports cars,” says Goldwine. It turns out that they could.
Harnessing young minds
Years later, at 2010, When Goldwine and Formoza started dreaming about a foldable car, they turned to academia and working with students. Designing the first prototype was a two-year journey with two groups of engineering students from Israel.
At 2012 they applied for funding from the European Union, when they turned down they started a partnership with Erez Abramov (CDO), who has vast experience in building different types of cars. They also partenered up with Yama Design Ltd., who specialize in designing cars.
“A brave new world”
When asked about competitors, the team preferred to call them something else. “We don’t see other companies in the industry as competitors. They are just other players in the field,” the partners tell NoCamels. “Since it’s such a new market, everybody in the industry is at their first steps. It’s a brave new world,” says Goldwine.
As such, the company is only happy to collaborate with others. The team is intent on not just selling the car, but also the platform. “City Transformer technology will be able to be incorporated into other models of cars. Soon enough, you’ll be able to see people driving around Volvos with this technology,” explains Formoza. “This is the future.”
As Goldwine and Formoza told their story, it was obvious by the spark in their eyes that this project was far more than a regular startup. “Building the car has been our objective, but there have also been many nice things along the way, not just to do with the work itself,” Goldwine says. With a touch of refreshing enthusiasm and optimism, the two presented their work as they really saw it. “City transformer is a dream,” Formoza says simply.”And from the start I knew it would come true.”
Accessibility is key
The car is set to hit the market within three years. Tying their work with the belief that efficient transportation should be affordable and accessible, the company is intent on selling their car at a price range below the average electrical car. Depending on the costs of assembly, the car’s price should be approximately $8,000.
For now, the company plans to focus on building its final prototype and selling the platform to other companies, not to mention continuing to have a good time.
Both Formoza and Goldwine hold PhDs in engineering from the University of Ben-Gurion. Their partner, Erez Abramov, has vast experience in driving, building and designing cars.
They are currently seeking additional funds to begin advancing towards manufacturing.