Real-world Transformers a step closer to reality

05 June 2022


An Israeli startup is looking to make the sci-fi world of Transformers a reality and is a step closer to full-scale production of its ‘shapeshifting’ electric microcar, the CT-1.

City Transformer specialises in developing electric-vehicle (EV) technologies and shared-mobility services. The company is developing the CT-1, a two-seat, four-wheel electrically-powered microcar.

The Tel Aviv-based ‘tech disruptors’ have recently raised $10 million (€9.3 million) in a funding round, doubling the finances already raised by the company, with development financing led by Lubinski Group, an international vehicle importer based in Israel. Additional investors have included private organisations, as well as multi-national companies from the transportation and real-estate sectors.

Designed to be ‘quick and nimble in a world of big and clumsy,’ the CT-1’s unique selling point is centred around its foldable chassis. In performance mode the CT-1 sits on the road at 1.4 metres in width, but using its active width adjustment technology the car can shrink, reducing its width to just 100cm in Urban Mode.

City Transformer claims that four CT-1s could be parked side-by-side in a single standard parking bay. In either mode, the dimensions and integrity of the interior remain the same.

‘We are excited about what City Transformer is doing to revolutionise the way we move in cities,’ commented Lubinski Group CEO Dani Shavit. ‘The urban-transportation model is ripe for disruption to take us into a new era of clean air and sustainable movement. This is going to be a fun ride with the City Transformer team, and we are delighted to be one of their first backers.’ 

Plans to transform urban travel

City Transformer intends to use the latest injection of funding to ramp up its market release plans for the CT-1, with serial production scheduled to start in 2024. The initial focus will be on the European market, followed by North America and Israel.

Asaf Formoza, CEO and founder of City Transformer, added: ‘Major cities around the globe suffer from crippling congestion, having a profoundly negative effect on the wellbeing of people. With this round of funding we can establish a solid foundation upon which to accelerate mass production of the CT-1 and expand operations in Israel and Europe.’

As well as the foldable chassis and small turning circle of 8.5 metres, designed to enhance urban parking possibilities, the 2.49-metre-long CT-1 possesses two 7.5kW electric motors allowing an estimated speed of up to 90kph and a projected range of up to 180km on a single charge.

In late 2021, City Transformer announced a partnership with Israeli emergency medical-response organisation United Hatzalah to incorporate the CT-1 into its fleet. This union underlines plans by City Transformer to make the CT-1 available as a fleet vehicle for companies specialising in areas such as last-mile deliveries, as well as emergency and first-responder organisations.

Speaking in the Times of Israel last year, Dov Maisel, vice president of operations for United Hatzalah outlined one of the potential advantages of using a vehicle such as the CT-1, stating: ‘We invented the motorcycle ambulance, and it is clear why, they can go through traffic easily, for example, but that limits us because not all volunteers have motorcycles licenses or want to be on a motorcycle,’ he explained