By Altynay Demeubayeva

Yaroslav Tenzer is a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard Biorobotics Laboratory. His research focuses on the role of sensing and mechanical design in motor control, in both robots and humans. He shared with us that new electric cars are not only environmentally friendly but also can change in size.

Altynay Demeubayeva: Tell me more about the City Transformer.

So City Transformer is a car with aim to transfer the way we drive and park in the cities. One of the big challenges traveling in big cities is parking, and even people who have mini cars, they still find that they spend tons of time looking for parking. So what we basically looking at, how to leverage the opportunity that motor bike has, cause motorbikes have more freedom in parking devices. So we are building a car like a footprint of a small car, like a motorbike that will be more comfortable and stable on the road within a tiny car.

A.D: Do they run on diesel or purely electric?

Electric. The idea is that to put the combustion engine and integrate all the parts of driving technology into full size car. In terms of size, it is quiet difficult. Electric cars these days are actually possible to develop.

A.D: How long does one battery last?

Based on our calculations it will be enough; we are looking at the distances like European and Asian markets, where people go from home to work to do some things and go back. It is considered to be a second car in a family, to get to the place.

A.D: Are they designed for the individual or families?

This particular one is designed for 2 people. It is for 1 sitting in the front, 1 sitting in the back, and there are no side seats so you can make the design much narrower.

One of the challenges with cars is the stability on the road. When you drive, you want to feel stable, but because now you don’t have enough base between the wheels to keep the stability, the base in this car actually expands: it’s a foldable base. So, when you are driving you can press the button and the base will increase, increasing the size between the wheels. So, the base transforms.

A.D. When is it be available on the market?

The current plan, as I understand, is that they are working on the statics and dynamics simulations now raising the funding with the aim to have first product by 2015 and full production by 2018. So, not far away from now.

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