Israeli automotive startup City Transformer, the firm that has developed the world’s first vehicle to fold and change its width in order to adjust to city traffic and parking, has partnered with emergency medical response organization United Hatzalah to include its all-electric compact vehicles in the EMS company’s fleet.
The deal, for 1,000 units, will be used in various cities and is worth $22 million, United Hatzalah said in an announcement last week. As part of the deal, 50 vehicles will be provided upfront, with several hundred more units expected to join within the next five years. The deal will allow United Hatzalah’s network of volunteers to locate one of the City Transformer’s car-sharing vehicles and use it to respond to medical emergencies in the area when needed.
United Hatzalah is a free, volunteer-based emergency medical services organization based in Jerusalem that provides motorcycle ambulances and faster transportation for those in need of medical intervention during an emergency.
Founded in 2014, City Transformer vehicles take up the space of a regular car on the road but shrink to the size of a motorcycle to fit into narrow traffic lanes and parking spots. As the sides of the cars compress, the cockpit doesn’t actually fold, and the driver can even begin folding the vehicle as he is driving at low speed.
Using the folding mechanism the car saves up to 75 percent parking space, the company says. While the total length of the vehicle is 2.35 meters (roughly 7’7″) it reaches a width of 1.44 meters (roughly 4’7″) in driving mode and compresses to 1.0 meters (roughly 3’3″) in parking mode.
City Transformer’s initial solution was intended to alleviate congestion caused by traffic and parking on city streets in urban areas. United Hatzalah will be using the vehicles to save lives, not save time or money.
The deal is also the debut of shared fleet vehicles in the field of emergency services. The vehicle manufacturer will also provide a dedicated model equipped to be used as a first-aid vehicle to volunteers selected by the organization, United Hatzalah said in the announcement.
Vehicles will be strategically positioned throughout the city at strategic points. Upon receiving a notification of an emergency, any of the organization’s 6,000 volunteers, who make up the national network of first responders that responds to about 2,000 calls a day across the country, will be able to rush to the nearest vehicle and drive to the incident. The identification, opening, and operation of the vehicle will be done through the app on the volunteer’s device. The address of the emergency will be pre-entered into the vehicle navigation software by the United Hatzalah Dispatch Center which will be directly linked to the vehicle.
The date for delivery of the vehicles was not specified, but the company has stated that Israel will be one of the first markets where City Transformer will be offered and that it intends to enter the market as early as 2023.