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With tiny EV, City Transformer takes aim at Europe's urban markets

A mini electric car developed by City Transformer drives out of the company's offices during a demonstration for Reuters in Kfar Netter

By Nick Carey

(Reuters) - Israeli electric vehicle (EV) startup City Transformer aims to launch production of its small urban CT-2 model in Western Europe by the end of 2024 and will soon launch a Series B funding round to raise $50 million, the company said on Monday.

Chief Executive Asaf Formoza told Reuters the company, which has so far raised $20 million, has selected a factory in Western Europe where it will have initial annual production of 15,000 vehicles, but cannot disclose its location yet.

The additional funds the startup is raising should help speed up series production, Formoza added.

The CT-2, which is already approved for use in the European Union and Britain, has a range of 180 kilometers (112 miles) and is 1 meter (3.28 ft) wide in "city mode." This makes it narrow enough for four of them to fit into a conventional car's parking spot, Formoza said.

But the EV's wheel base expands to 1.4 meters for "performance mode," which doubles its top speed to 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour.

The EV can fit two people sitting in tandem, or could be used for last-mile delivery or other businesses, the company said.

The CT-2 weighs in at 450 kilograms (0.5 ton), or less than the battery in a Tesla Model 3.

"Is there a reason a person like you or me needs to maneuver in the city in a two-ton car and 600 kilograms of battery?" Formoza said.

The CT-2 will cost 16,000 euros ($17,400) before taxes and Formoza said major carmakers have created space for startups like City Transformer by shifting away from smaller cars.

"The B (small car) segment is vanishing because carmakers make more on SUVs, so there's going to be a huge void that us and others will look to fill," he said.

City Transformer is lobbying the EU for subsidies for smaller EVs like the CT-2 that are currently available for larger models, Formoza added.

($1 = 0.9203 euro)

(Reporting by Nick Carey in London; Editing by Matthew Lewis)