24/11/2020

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The car that cares

New all-electric Citroen Ami city car revealed

This is the Citroen Ami, a radical new city car created to support city dwellers who want...

This is the Citroen Ami, a radical new city car created to support city dwellers who want sporadic access to all-electric transport designed exclusively for urban situations.

Exclusively revealed by Auto Express last summer, the Ami project is, in effect, a production version of the AMI One concept that made its debut at 2019’s Geneva Motor Show. The concept’s core looks have been retained, including a simple design that uses common body panels front and rear, as well as along each flank. As such, the two doors open in different directions; the driver’s is rear-hinged, while the passenger’s has a more traditional front-hinged configuration.

The boxy two-seat vehicle is just 2.41 metres long, 1.39 metres wide and 1.52 metres high; that makes the Ami significantly shorter and narrower than a Smart ForTwo. And the new French model also has a turning circle of just 7.2 metres – smaller than the ForTwo’s and even tighter than that of the latest LEVC London taxi.

The Ami’s specs are designed for use around town – particularly because it is classified as a quadricycle and so can, in theory, be driven by 14-year-olds without a licence in some European countries. The car has a 5.5kWh lithium-ion battery, giving a range of up to 70km (44 miles). It can be recharged using a three-pin plug in three hours, using a built-in cable that is stored in the passenger doorway. The vehicle’s top speed is just 45kph (28mph), another sign that it is designed for traffic-clogged city centres.

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Inside, much of the AMI One concept’s stripped-back interior treatment has been retained. There’s no conventional central display; instead you store your mobile phone in a holder high up on the fascia and it acts as an infotainment hub and navigation screen. There is, however, a basic instrument panel mounted on the steering wheel – a feature that is likely to have been introduced to satisfy legislation requirements.

There’s no conventional boot, but the Ami does have a storage recess at the passenger’s feet and another area behind both occupants. The pared-back nature of the cabin means hard, washable materials in lots of key areas, plus – in a nod to the original Citroen 2CV – windows that tilt open upwards instead of sliding up and down.

Citroen sees the Ami as a rival not only to small city cars but also to the emerging trend of electric bicycles in major city centres. As such, the pricing options for the car are varied and flexible. It can be bought outright for €6,000 (£5,050) in France – or customers can commit to a long-term rental which requires a deposit of just over €2,600 (£2,186) and then 48 monthly payments of just €19.99 (£17).

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Equally, for those after maximum flexibility and a weatherproof alternative to electric scooters, the Ami will be offered through Groupe PSA’s Free2Move car sharing service at a cost per minute of €0.26 (21p). The company expects that by 2030, around a third of all kilometres travelled will be via shared mobility.

The car will be offered in seven different versions, with optional equipment including a storage tray, a smartphone clip, a door storage net and a hook for a handbag. Four colours will be available, along with a couple of options back that bring graphics and a roof trims to help owners to personalise their car.

The Ami is being launched at the end of March in France, with sales following soon after in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Germany. UK sales are not part of this initial rollout, not least because Citroen is still studying the legal framework on the car’s viability, local government commitment to infrastructure, and the costs of converting it to right-hand drive.

Head over to our sister site DrivingElectric to find out the best electric city cars on sale right now…