we drove in the electric car that folds up to park!

Is it reasonable to produce ultra-powerful electric cars weighing two tons, occupied most of the time by one person and traveling at an average city speed of 16 km/h? Certainly not! This is the observation of a handful of engineers behind the small Israeli company City Transformer to design their CT-1. A microcar dedicated to megacities where the very presence of the car becomes a problem, both in terms of congestion and pollution. It is therefore 100% electric, has very small dimensions, with a length of no more than 2.50 m and, above all, it innovates with its variable width. The main goal is to sneak around the city like a motorcycle and park in as little space as possible.

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This CT-1 thus has in its foundation a chassis separated into two parts, lengthwise, which can slide 20 cm on each side to widen or narrow the tracks by a total of 40 cm as needed. In fact, the CT-1 is only 1m wide for driving around town, no more than a motorcycle, handlebars and mirrors included, compared to the 1.19m of a Renault Twizy or 1.39m of a Citroën Ami. Dthe dimensions, which also make it possible, with the choice of scissor doors that hardly deviate from the machine when opened, to park four CT-1s on the ground of a single current carwhich is a clear advantage in historic centers where space is really limited.

An arrival of the City Transformer planned for 2024

However, because this precious narrowness in the city center carries a risk of overturning when on the road, when dodging, the speed is limited to 40 km/h. In addition to – the CT-1 is capable of 90 km/h –, you have to press a button on the right branch of the steering wheel to expand the chassis by 20 cm on each side, so that the tracks reach 1.40 m, which eliminates the risk of tipping over when the wheel suddenly turns. The nature of the electromechanical mechanism, patent pending, has unfortunately not been revealed to us.

However, we have already been able to drive a few kilometers in the Paris region aboard one of the first prototypes to taste the special sensations of driving this transformist car. Thanks to its two electric motors of 7.5 kW each (one per half-frame), the CT-1 is sufficiently lively at take-off, and thanks to its planned weight of only 585 kg (16 kWh lithium-ion battery of 135 kg included), it promises . to go from 0 to 50 km/h in just 5 seconds. Due to the narrow size of the city-sized machine, the passenger is installed in tandem – as in the Twizy – and has enough legroom, even if he measures 1.80 m. Thanks to the heating-air conditioning system, which is missing on the Renault, which remains open to all win, we would be protected there from bad weather in winter and heat stroke in summer once the scissor doors are closed, although kinematics still remain. tweaked.

Exclusive: we drove the electric car that folds up to park.© City Transformer

A base price of around €16,000?

Because on this prototype, which turns out to be more of a demonstrator in light of the many, sometimes disturbing sounds (electric motors, expansion mechanism, electric handbrake, etc.), there is logically still a lot of development work to be done. The unassisted braking lacks bite at the start of the race, the suspensions would benefit from being more progressive and above all the steering remains confusing. Not very direct at the start of the turn, it is a little too direct afterwards. A phenomenon that the expansion of the tracks does not help to control, as it affects the geometries. And then we expected better than 8.2 m turning circle (8.6 in the wide position) for such a short two-seater (7.2 m for an Ami).

Announced for 2024, CT-1 really sneaks everywhere and still has time to work on all these aspects, with the help and expertise of Segula Technologies, a French engineering group responsible for evaluating technical solutions, their feasibility as well as their cost to achieve production. We therefore wish you good luck with this project, the price of which is expected to be €16,000 excluding taxes and tax incentives.. It is significantly more expensive than Twizy and Ami, but the benefits would also be superior.

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