'Shrinking' electric cars to aid Hatzalah emergency responders

United Hatzalah will be using the vehicles for the means of saving lives and not just saving time or money.

 'Shrinking' electric cars to aid Hatzalah emergency responders (photo credit: City Transformer)
'Shrinking' electric cars to aid Hatzalah emergency responders
(photo credit: City Transformer)

City Transformer, an Israeli company that makes a unique “folding” all-electric car designed for city centers, will provide its vehicles to United Hatzalah so its volunteers can respond to medical emergencies quickly.

Under the $22 million deal, 1,000 vehicles will be made available for car-sharing in cities around the country. When a volunteer is notified of an emergency in the vicinity, he or she can find the nearest available City Transformer car and drive it to the site.

The identification, opening and operation of the vehicle will be done through the app on the volunteer’s device. The address of the emergency will be pre-entered into the vehicle navigation software by the United Hatzalah Dispatch Center, which will be directly linked to the vehicle.

United Hatzalah will be the first corporate customer of the seven-year-old, Tel Aviv-based company. The deal marks the debut of shared fleet vehicles in the field of emergency services, United Hatzalah said.

City Transformer’s electric car features an innovative folding mechanism that allows it to “shrink” down to just one meter wide for easy parking in congested cities. Four of its CT cars can fit in one standard parking space, the company says.

In active driving mode, the car is 2.5 meters long and 1.4 meters wide, and can seat one adult in the front seat and one behind. Designed with the needs of crowded cities in mind, it can travel up to 180 km. (112 miles), or about six average urban rides, on one charge, and has a maximum speed of 90 kph (56 mph).

United Hatzalah will be using the vehicles as a means for saving lives and not just saving time or money, it noted. The organization has some 6,000 volunteer first responders nationwide responding to about 2,000 calls a day.

As part of the deal, 50 vehicles will be provided up front, with several hundred more units expected to join within the next five years. The date of delivery was not specified, but the company has said it plans to begin entering the market as early as 2023.

A dedicated model equipped to be used as a first-aid vehicle will be provided to United Hatzalah volunteers selected by the organization.

“United Hatzalah has been closely following developments with City Transformer as the start-up has worked on its innovative vehicles,” said United Hatzalah vice president of operations Dov Maisel.

“We approached this from two angles. First, the safety of our volunteers and riders. And second, the innovation component. We invented the ambucycle so we could cut through traffic faster and respond quicker to medical emergencies. However, the ambucycle is limiting, as most of our volunteers don’t have motorcycle licenses or want to drive a motorcycle. The idea of having a compact car that can cut through traffic and is based on a co-sharing model will allow our volunteers to simply find the closest City Transformer car and go.”