By on April 30, 2021

Stellantis appears interested in testing America’s appetite for extremely small and highly European EVs. The formerly PSA-owned rental company Free2Move recently posted the silhouette of the Citroën Ami accompanied by text hinting that the vehicle would be imported for use in Washington, D.C.

Launched in 1961, the Ami (French for “friend”) started life as a petite four-door, front-wheel-drive economy car that came in numerous body styles. While it has the honor of being one of the first vehicles in history to adopt rectangular headlamps was, and widely known as the “premium” alternative to the triumph of minimalism that was the Citroën 2CV, it was by no means a swift or lavish automobile. Its ability to reach 60 mph was highly dependent upon the incline of the road and how much cargo it was hauling. 

The new Ami abandons the pint-sized 602 cc of the original (1015 cc in the Ami Super) for a 6-kW electric motor and only has two doors. But they remain highly similar in their general concepts, with simplicity as the key.

Like the original, the Ami EV was designed to be affordable transportation with everything else being an afterthought. Its status as a quadricycle (rather than a fully-fledged automobile) also opens it up to be driven in France without a license by people born before 1988 and those age 14 (or older) that have taken the initial steps toward getting one with the proper accreditations.

Is it likely to be a smash hit here in the states? We doubt it.

The 5.5-kWh battery keeps roundtrips below 50 miles and it’s not legally allowed to exceed 28 mph. That really limits where the model can go and will undoubtedly relegate it to urban landscapes, which is also usually the case in France. While purchasable in Europe, many Ami’s become rental vehicles for city dwellers who need more cargo space than a bicycle and backpack can provide. In fact, Free2Move already uses them for its car-sharing service across the pond.

Wildly unsuited for our market, the Ami remains a charming, basic automobile. Your author is actually excited about the prospect of driving one of these karts since it’s incredibly rare to see something quite this small or simple inside North America. But nobody will be buying them.

[Images: Citroën]

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24 Comments on “Stellantis to Test Citroën Ami on U.S. Customers?...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Yum! Brands should buy 10,000 of them and begin autonomous delivery of Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell goods to your curb – something to go up against Domino’s Nuro boxes.

  • avatar

    Yeah, difficult to see a good business model for this car.

    As a car2go/ReachNow type car sharing vehicle, Uber/Lyft is more convenient because you don’t have to worry about street parking. For personal ownership, those of us in the city will be street parking so there will be no way of charging these (and if you have a garage, you would likely get something bigger). A 150cc scooter engine will probably be better in that case.

  • avatar

    Problem solved:

    and if they follow my advice, sign me up for the dual motor version and some sort of a tire subscription service.

  • avatar

    Up the top speed to 60mph (so it can comfortably handle 45mph city streets), range to 100 miles, and price somewhere in the teens, I could see it work.

    Otherwise, no. Unless as a car-share. By the way, my standards were set by a couple of 125 and 150cc scooters I used to own as primary commuters to the motorcycle shop.

  • avatar

    Makes the Smart car look like a Hummer.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Price it very very cheap and I might be interested. If below 10k I would definitely buy one as a commuter and errand car and do my part for being green. I would even go without air conditioning and give me a basic DIN radio in either black or white with one interior color choice.

  • avatar

    This would make a lot of sense for “most” trips many, many people living in cities make (not as much sense as a pedelec with and/or without a trailer, but talk about high falutin per current state of decay….).

    BUT, of course, “lot of sense” and “zoning/land use laws” aimed at nothing more than keeping people homeless and/or desperate to fork over their firstborn to idle, negative-value-add idiots on Fed welfare, has exactly zero overlap. So, with the American indoctrinati being, almost to an indoctrinated halfwit, fully in thrall to the latter: Fat chance something as commonsensical as space for a city-car, for those living in a city, becoming the norm anytime soon.

  • avatar

    We already have these. They’re called golf carts.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I take one Stellantis golf cart. Here is my Doctor’s prescription for one.

  • avatar

    Totally DoA in the states.

    In the urban canyons where this might make sense such as New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, the billion tons of CO2 question is where exactly do you charge these when you park on the street overnight.

    Car sharing services are FUBAR because in the areas where these services could flourish, people believe that whole C disease thing is real. Also, almost every car share tanked pre-COVID even in Seattle.

    Between the failure of the Scion iQ, smart4two, and the Fiat 500, Americans have made it clear, they want their Ford F******** Ranger.

    • 0 avatar

      A first-generation Honda Civic coupe is the minimum size for a vehicle in the United States. Anything smaller would look entirely out of place. This is a good idea in principle, but not likely to take the nation by storm. It’s a solution for large, crowded cities with limited parking and narrow streets, but not rural or suburban America.
      The paint job on these cars, while making them stand out, will also make them targets for vandalism, particularly the rainbow design.
      They are also likely to get the equivalent treatment by drunks as Smart cars being tossed into canals in the Netherlands.
      They might be more popular if you earn a virtual Pokemon for your digital collection with each drive.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Toronto Star today ran a story on a guy who owns 14 Citroens. That should keep him very busy. Although I must say that I would not mind owning a ‘Gatsby’ (two tone painted) 2CV.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    “Between the failure of the Scion iQ, smart4two, and the Fiat 500, Americans have made it clear, they want their Ford F******** Ranger.”

    The real problem with those cars was less about size and more about the price. Manufacturers charged too much for the Scion iQ and smart4two–those cars were more about the image and less about being practical and affordable. In the case of the Fiat 500 it was cashing in on the retro look but the quality was abysmal. Make a cheap, reliable, and affordable vehicle that is efficient and people will buy it as a additional vehicle. American Motors made the Rambler a downsized version of the Nash and priced it at a point that was lower than the competition. The American was so successful it saved AMC from going out of business. At the right price a small electrical vehicle would sell but it must be considerably cheap like used car cheap and provide accessible places where these vehicles can be serviced. With less mechanical parts and if there are not too many electrical nannies a small EV could become very affordable.

    • 0 avatar

      Add to that that the fuel economy was not much better than a much larger compact car i.e. Compare a Smart Car to Honda Civic. I can’t remember which trim the Civic was in but I think it was the base model civic with the ICE was better than a Smart car. The hybrid Civic blew it away IIRC.

  • avatar

    The French are good at some things. Building automobiles (with a couple of notable exceptions) isn’t one of them.

  • avatar

    I don’t see that working out, but c’est la vie.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Yes the Civic is a better car with better mpgs. French cars and cigarettes are bad. French are better at wine and food.

  • avatar

    What’s the average speed of a pizza delivery driver?

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