By on February 28, 2020

PSA Group

Given the size and modest specs of Citroën’s Ami city car, you’d think post-war rationing was still a thing in France.

The Ami, revealed Thursday, is a production version of the Ami One concept PSA Group debuted at last year’s Geneva Motor Show. It’s small, short, looks the same coming as it does going, and doesn’t require a driver’s license. It could be a ticket to freedom for a 14-year-old, but first they’ll have to get used to living life at no more than 28 mph.

Looking slightly more normal than the microwave-like Ami One, the production Ami offers reasonable space for two occupants and a tiny footprint – perfect for getting around the urban areas of congested cities. And that’s where Citroën expects the Ami to live.

With an 8-horsepower electric motor providing a forward vitesse of 28 mph, this “light quadricycle” sources its juice from a small 5.5 kWh battery. Owners can charge it in three hours at a 220-volt socket. This battery leads to another restriction that keeps the Ami from travelling far afield: range. At 43 miles, it’s enough for most trips to the baguette shop, but not intercity travel. Not that France would allow that.

PSA Group

Citroën says its mobility solution is an avant-garde alternative to lame subway, bus, and tram travel, allowing users to pull up directly in front of their destination. Walking, of course, is also lame. And one needn’t be a teen (no doubt hankering for dad’s DS) to drive one.

The Ami is “designed just as much for the young teenager without a driving licence, who wants to visit a friend’s house or go to sports or music lessons completely independently, as it is for an older couple who already have a main vehicle but who prefer to favour Ami‘s agility for their short errands,” Citroën claims.

The sole requirement for driving an Ami is to be 14 and up, assuming you’ve passed the country’s road safety certificate (compulsory for people born after 1987).

With interior storage galore and a design that retains enough of the funkiness of the concept (each door opens a different way), the Ami attempts to lull occupants into a feeling of normalcy via seats positioned at the same height as a conventional sedan or hatch. Once in those seats, occupants will notice straps instead of door handles and tilt-out window glass. That latter feature is a nod to the two-cylinder car that put France on wheels. Orders open on March 30th, with French deliveries expected before the end of June. Soon after Parisians get their first crack at one, customers in Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Portugal can have a go.

PSA Group

Eager to punt the Ami into the laps of many, Citroën crafted an online ordering process that sees the Ami delivered to the customer’s home. It also offers a number of ways to drive one. Cash purchase is possible, with the customer shelling out just under $7,000, or users can go the rental route, dropping $3,000 as a down payment and spending roughly $22 a month for 48 months.

Free2Move, PSA Group’s car-sharing service, plans to field fleets of Amis for both travellers and ordinary citizens with errands to run. Cost for these trips runs 30 cents per minute.

Will the Ami revolutionize European travel in the same manner as the continent’s postwar bubble cars? Time will tell. When transit operators start setting fires to things and looting PSA HQ, we’ll have our first clue.

[Images: PSA Group]

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10 Comments on “Public Transit Is for Squares: Citroën’s Ami Calls All Non-conformists...”

  • avatar

    Looks like a useful little machine for urban areas. Definitely a bit funky but in today’s automotive design landscape I can’t really call it ugly as there are far worse, much more expensive, vehicles out there.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    A Cozy Coupe for big kids! I love it!
    Not sure where I would drive it as I don’t like in the city, but it would make a great street legal golf cart!

  • avatar

    If it were register-able as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle this might work as a niche vehicle in the U.S. Tweak the DOT reg to allow 3 MPH more and it could be appealing in a sunbelt retirement community.

    Who will be first to swap in an LS3? :)

    • 0 avatar

      Precisely! My neighborhood is full of $6000 jacked-up golf carts that people use to cruise up and down the beach road, go get ice cream, or quick runs to the neighborhood market. This would be the coolest $6k neighborhood runabout

  • avatar

    A central city where full-size cars were limited to peripheral parking lots and only this type of car were allowed elsewhere would be so much safer. And we already have that kind of arrangement in plenty of places in the US; it’s just called “expensive resort” instead of “city.”

  • avatar

    I love the ingenuity of using all symmetrical body panels, including the same door hinge placement and door card. One mold for the bumper, one light panel, one quarter/fender per side, one door. It can only work on something this small.

  • avatar

    Bring it here with diesel and manual transmission I am buying! It will be fun car to commute in.

  • avatar

    Earlier this week, I might have considered buying one of these based only on the fact that it doesn’t have an EVAP system to throw codes. :-)

  • avatar

    Speed-limited quadricycles, or “moped cars” as they’re called in some places, are pretty common all around Europe. Usually they’re built by niche manufacturers like Aixam and are pretty costly with questionable build quality, so it’s nice to see a real car company enter the micro-car market.

    You can also tweak the speed limiter in these things, I often see kids driving their moped cars at 80 km/h instead of the legal 45. Pretty sure you can do the same in the Ami.

  • avatar

    I have a membership in BlueTorino, the city of Turin’s electric car share. They use custom Pininfarina-built cars stationed around the city. But I’d happily sign up for this too if the price is right. Owning a car in the city is kind of a hassle, and the downtown areas are limited traffic zones during much of the day. Being able to just hop in one of these and park anywhere when it makes sense would be great.

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