The Citroen Ami is a quirky, electric two-seater that’s intended to propel Citroen into a new era of car-sharing and urban mobility.
The French firm hopes that the Ami, which remains true to the Ami One concept shown a year ago, will appeal to a new generation of buyers as the appetite for more traditional entry-level cars, such as the C1 (which is unlikely to be replaced), wanes. It will be launched in Europe this summer, although UK sales haven’t been confirmed. Citroen marketing chief Arnaud Belloni said: "In the UK, it will come later – if it comes. We need to validate the project in France and other countries first."
Crucially, the Ami is classed as a quadricyle, like the Renault Twizy, which means it can be driven across Europe without a driving licence by those aged 16 or older.
The Ami is 90mm longer than the Twizy, at 2.41m, and has a 40mm-wider turning circle of 7.2m. Under the floor of the Ami is a 5.5kWh lithium ion battery that can deliver up to 47 miles / 75 kilometres of range, while a sole motor allows it to hit a top speed of 26mph/41kph . The battery can be recharged in just three hours from a domestic socket.
Citroën is offering three usage models: long-term rental, car-sharing and cash purchase. Rental requires a deposit of 2644 euros (currently Rs 206,602) and monthly payments of 19.99 euros (Rs 1,575). Through car-sharing scheme Free2Move, Citroën parent firm the PSA Group’s offering, subscribers can drive the Ami for 26 cents (22p) per minute. To buy, the Ami costs 6000 euros (Rs 468,840).
Acquiring an Ami will be an entirely online process, in which the EV can be delivered to one’s home or collected from a pick-up point. It will also be available in traditional Citroën dealerships, as well as pop-up stands in shops, such as French department store chain Fnac.
The Ami’s doors open in opposite directions, being rear-hinged on the driver’s side and front-hinged on the passenger side – a configuration intended to help access. There are two fixed, semi-opening windows, which Citroën flags as a nod to the iconic 2CV. A large glass surface, including a panoramic roof is claimed to give occupants a feeling of space as well as good visibility.
Citroen design boss Pierre Leclercq said the Ami and Ami One concept were developed side--by-side. "The concept has to be more exceptional than the production car but the cleverless of the industrialisation model is the same, for example the door system and the functionality of the interior."
He added that the design was not intended to carry over into Citroen's wider model line. "The project is aside from cars - it has to be special. It doesn't have to carry the same brand identiy as broader line-up."
There is one colour available: Blue Ami, which is a coloured material rather than a paint finish, and described as having "a huge impact" on cost-saving. While the firm did not say when the model would become profitable, a spokesman said: "We are not born to make things that are not profitable."
The interior is closed and heated, while the two seats are positioned side by side so that taller people can fit. Citroën claimed a carry-on suitcase can fit in a recess at the passenger’s feet. Sat-nav and music are accessed via a smartphone placed in a dedicated area in the middle of the dashboard.
Citroën describes the Ami as a “a practical response to new mobility expectations for short journeys [providing] easier access to city centres, micromobility for everyone and a real alternative to scooters, bicycles, mopeds and public transport, and at reasonable costs”.