The CT-1 is a small car that easily fits into a motorcycle parking lot. The highlight is a folding mechanism that allows the dwarf to shrink to a width of one meter. It's still a prototype, but the Israeli start-up that dreamed up the CT-1 has big plans for the little one.
Who would have thought that a Smart Fortwo could look really fat in a parking lot compared to another car? Probably nobody - except Asaf Formoza. The problem of the inventor from Tel Aviv could not have been solved with the approximately 1.50 meter wide micro car from Mercedes.
"A normal compact car fits in my garage and my motorcycle next to it," says the man in his mid-forties. But Formoza never really enjoyed the bike. Too wet in winter, in summer it boiled under the helmet - and bring the little ones to daycare? Too insecure. The solution would be a full-fledged car, but just a meter wide.
The solution is ready to go. Formoza put his City Transformer on wheels together with the prototype builders from Roding. 1.58 meters high, 2.50 meters long - and just one meter wide. Looks like the tester could cough it up; but prejudices aside and let's go into the traffic turmoil of Munich city.
The first impression is almost like that of the first Smart: From the inside, the vehicle looks much more mature, just like a car. The two seats, one behind the other in the CT-1, also offer taller people enough space. Two small screens in the cockpit provide all essential information, infotainment and connection to apps and the usual services. Unlike other vehicles in the small L7e class, such as Renault's Twizzy, the CT-1 is completely closed and air-conditioned. The 14 kWh battery under the floor and two 7.5 kW electric motors spontaneously deliver their sufficient power, as is typical for the drive. The rear-wheel drive Schmalhans can swim effortlessly in traffic.
However, this only works because Formoza has patented a trick from a speed of 30: The two steel beams on the left and right in the frame on which the wheels are suspended can then be extended electro-hydraulically by 25 centimeters at the push of a button. The wider track should enable safer road holding even at higher speeds. The CT-1 can reach speeds of up to 90 km/h. And the range of 180 kilometers should also make the car attractive for suburban commuters. The battery is fully recharged in 3.5 hours, even when plugged into a household socket; on the fast charger it takes 20 minutes.
But the external values are even more spectacular, also acoustically: The mechanism when the chassis is extended still hums, squeaks and creaks in the prototype in such a way that at first there is no trust in the opening mechanism. But after just a few kilometers and courageous acceleration, the feeling of insecurity is gone. The CT-1 scuttles like a mini over old town streets and the Autobahn-like Mittlerer Ring. Fast lane changes hardly cause the body to tilt, but ABS and ESP keep overly ambitious speeding in check. The low center of gravity - battery pack below, CFRP body above - lets the 450-kilo car sit more firmly on the road than it looks when stationary. So it also works with driving fun. And thanks to the folding rear seat, you can also stow away the big weekend shopping.
The really big hour of the very small car comes when parking in the chronically congested city: retract the chassis - and cheated across the 1.20 meters in front of an SUV. A length of 2.50 meters allows, as with the original Smart, this position as long as there is no obstruction for pedestrians or lanes. Getting out isn't a problem either, because the doors swing forwards and upwards like the Lamborghini Aventador. Engineer Formoza also calculates that four of his folding artists can be accommodated in a standard parking space. Finding such a parking space is ten times easier than in a compact car. "This is extremely interesting for car sharing providers, paramedics or delivery services." Formoza has already negotiated initial sales contracts with them.
The CT-1 is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Europe from 2024, and negotiations for this are also in the home stretch. 15,000 vehicles are planned as annual production at the start - and a price of around 16,000 euros. For 12,500 euros, however, the first enthusiasts can already pre-order the car via the website. However, there is no environmental bonus for cars in this class.
However, Formoza does not want to find its niche in the market as a price-breaker anyway. The developer relies, for example, on the fact that owners of the CT-1 receive special rights from city administrations. For two reasons: First, his light vehicle is particularly environmentally friendly. Due to its small size and also because it consists of only 1,500 individual parts and is also particularly resource-saving in production. A conventional car consists of up to 10,000 parts. In addition, the narrow Stromer requires little space.
In Tel Aviv, for example, there are prospects of being able to drive on special motorcycle lanes. And he is also in contact with major cities in Italy, France and Germany in order to open up streets or parking spaces that are denied to normal-sized cars. Whether these negotiations with the administration work as smoothly as the technology in the CT-1? The little one deserved the sympathy.