Public Transit Is for Squares: Citron's Ami Calls All Non-conformists

public transit is for squares citrons ami calls all non conformists

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.

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.

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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  • Garak Garak on Feb 29, 2020

    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.

  • Kruser Kruser on Mar 02, 2020

    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.

  • Irvingklaws Always wanted to try building a dune buggy (most were originally sold as kits). The Manx's are nice looking, especially when they have the 'side pods' that fill outside the tub. My favorites however were made by another manufacturer, the lesser known Bounty Hunter and subsequent derivative Deserter GT body styles. All were intended to be street legal, at least by the standards of the time. I agree it's an ideal application for EV technology.
  • AndyinMA I like these a lot, of course they will sell.
  • KOKing My parents bought 2 new Datsuns By Nissan during this time, albeit neither was a 810 (81 510 2dr 4sp and 82 720KC 5sp). A schoolmate's dad had the 810 diesel. Nowadays the crankshaft from one is the most valuable at $1-1.5k as they're used to make strokers for Z cars.
  • ScarecrowRepair I've seen both "Magentic" and "Magnetic", as you have here. Which is it?
  • TyL As listed actually.