Is it reasonable to produce ultra-powerful electric cars weighing two tons, occupied most of the time by one person and traveling at average urban speeds of 16 km/h? Certainly not! This is the observation of the handful of engineers behind the small Israeli company City Transformer to design its 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, measuring no more than 2.50 m in length and, above all, innovates with its variable width. The main objective is to sneak around the city like a motorcycle and park in the smallest space possible.
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This CT-1 thus has at its foundations a chassis separated into two parts, longitudinally, which can slide 20 cm on each side to widen or narrow the lanes by 40 cm in total according to needs. In fact, the CT-1 is just 1 m wide for city driving, no more than a motorcycle, handlebars and mirrors included, compared to the 1.19 m of a Renault Twizy or the 1.39 m of a Citroën Ami. Ddimensions that also allow, with the choice of scissor doors that barely deviate from the machine when opened, to park four CT-1s on the ground location of a single current carwhich is a clear advantage in historic centers, where space is really limited.
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But because this precious narrowness in the city center implies, once on the road, the risk of overturning in a surprise evasion, the speed is limited to 40 km/h. Beyond – the CT-1 is capable of 90 km/h –, you have to press a control on the right branch of the steering wheel to widen the racing train by 20 cm on each side, so that the tracks reach 1.40 m, thus eliminating the risk of tipping over in a sudden wheel spin. The nature of the patent-pending electromechanical mechanism has unfortunately not been revealed to us.
Even so, we were already able to drive a few kilometers in the Paris region aboard one of the first prototypes to experience the particular sensations of driving this transforming car. Thanks to its two electric motors of 7.5 kW each (one per half frame), the CT-1 is sufficiently lively on take-off, and thanks to its only planned 585 kg (135 kg 16 kWh lithium-ion battery included ), promises to go from 0 to 50 km/h in just 5 s. Given the narrowness of the machine in the size of the city, the passenger is installed in tandem – as in the Twizy – and has enough legroom, even measuring 1.80 m. Thanks to the heating-air conditioning, absent in the Renault, which remains open to all winds, we would be protected from bad weather in winter and from heat stroke in summer, since the scissor doors are closed, even if the kinematics remain adjusted.
A base price of around €16,000?
Because in this prototype, which turns out to be another demonstrator given the many noises that are sometimes disturbing (electric motors, widening mechanism, electric handbrake, etc.), logically there is still a lot of development work to do. Unassisted braking lacks early-race bite, the suspensions would benefit from being more progressive, and above all, the steering remains muddled.. Not too straight at the start of the turn, it’s a little too straight afterwards. A phenomenon that the widening of the rails does not help to control, as it affects the geometries. And so, we expected better than 8.2m in turning radius (8.6m in the wide position) for such a short two-seater (7.2m for an Ami).
Announced for 2024, the CT-1 is indeed sneaking around and still has time to work on all these aspects, with the help and expertise of Segula Technologies, the French engineering group responsible for evaluating technical solutions, their feasibility and cost. to achieve production. We therefore wish good luck to this project, whose price is estimated at €16,000 excluding taxes and tax incentives.. It’s significantly more expensive than Twizy and Ami, but the benefits would also be superior.