by Keren Setton
JERUSALEM, July 15 (Xinhua) -- If you are a resident of a crowded city, looking for a parking spot near your destination is always difficult. City Transformer (CT), a small hi-tech firm located in central Israel, is devoted to solve the problem.
They have invented a foldable chassis which incorporates all of the car's components. Four of their vehicles fit into one parking slot of traditional size. The folding mechanism has got a patent.
At their humble office in Netanya, central Israel, people from CT are tweaking the design of what they believe is the transportation of the future.
"When I was a child, the car was a symbol of freedom. Today, people living in the city see it more as a burden," said Dr. Asaf Formoza, CEO of City Transformer.
The car will soon be available for pre-order and the company has the ambitious goal of seeing 1 million models on the streets by 2025. Now in the prototype stage, Formoza said the car is planned to be electric and fully autonomous.
Israel, which is considered to be a world leader in innovation, is probably the right place for him and his partners to stay.
Formoza said the Tel Aviv municipality has agreed to take part in a pilot in the coming year which will see as much as 50 CT vehicles driving on the streets of Israel's leading hi-tech hub.
At the touch of a button, the car shrinks by 50 centimeters, making it compact and perfect for parking in small crowded areas, according to CT.
The car platform is flexible and can be used for several purposes - from taking people to delivering goods. And the final model is expected to have a joy-stick rather than a steering wheel.
"Everything that makes the car a car is down below in the lower part, including the suspension, all the engines and all the electronics," said Eyal Cremer, the Chief Design Officer (CDO) at CT.
"It means we are completely flexible in what we put on top. We can put a box for cargo, put something that is special for mail delivery, or a sporting car."
CT plans to sell the cars to leasing companies at first. Once the cars will be available to the end user, they will sell at an estimated price of 10,000 U.S. dollars without the batteries that will be rented out.
On its battery, the vehicle will be able to drive nearly 200km per ride.
Formoza said the car is safe, although crash tests have not been conducted. The car will be fitted with air bags and seat belts.
The potential is not only in freeing up parking spots, but also in the possibility to reduce traffic, said Formoza. Driving at a lower speed searching for parking makes traffic slower in many cities.
While Israel is not a world leader in the automobile industry, it is home to some leading innovations in the autonomous vehicle sector. Conditions on the ground are ripe for firms like CT and others.
"Our goal is to make something that is usable, a utility, but doesn't look and feel like a utility," he told Xinhua. "We're working very hard to make it cool. It's not a car, it's more of a product for life."