Citroën expanded its lineup towards the bottom by introducing an electric, two-seater city car you don't need a license to drive. Called Ami, it was developed with both private users and car-sharing programs in mind.
The newest addition to the Citroën range is about a foot shorter than a Smart ForTwo, shaped like a vacuum cleaner attachment, and named after a slightly more conventional-looking vintage model introduced in 1961. It looks like a car, and it's ostensibly marketed as one, but the French government begs to differ; the Ami joins the Renault Twizy in the light quadricycle segment, meaning anyone can drive one without a license as long as they're at least 14. The catch is that its top speed is limited to precisely 27.9 mph — on flat ground, of course.
Power comes from an eight-horsepower motor, which is enough to move a 1,070-pound vehicle. Citroën quoted up to 43 miles of driving range thanks to a 5.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery stuffed under the floor. Charging the tiny pack takes three hours when using a standard 220-volt outlet found in every European house, though it's also compatible with public charging stations. Fourteen-inch wheels deliver "easy handling," according to the firm.
- 2020 Citroen Ami
Visually, the Ami takes the quirkiness Citroën is known for to new heights with a head-turning, opinion-splitting design loosely inspired by the Ami One concept unveiled in 2019. It offers space for two passengers in closed, heated cabin with a panoramic sunroof and windows that flip up manually like on the emblematic 2CV. The interior is more practical than its dimensions suggest because users have numerous storage bins at their disposal. The instrument cluster consists of a small, rectangular LCD screen. Want music? There's a smartphone cradle for that, and a place to put a Bluetooth-enabled speaker. Want navigation? Again, use the cradle. Keeping the Ami as basic as possible allowed Citroën to make it cheap, though there's no word yet on where it's built.
Citroën envisions several use cases for the Ami. Motorists can lease one for €19.99 (about $22) per month after making a €2,644 (around $2,900) down payment. They can purchase their Ami (which, by the way, means "friend" in French) for €6,000, or approximately $6,600, or they're able to reserve one for roughly 30 cents a minute via app-based car-sharing programs in select cities. It's cheaper than many scooters no matter how you look at it.
Those who choose to buy or lease one will be able to order it online and get it delivered straight to their door, Amazon-style. Citroën has a website where you can learn more, will begin taking orders on March 30, and the first deliveries are scheduled for June.