In 2019, Citroën caused a stir at the Geneva Motor Show with its Ami mobility cube. Now the electric city speedster is going into mass production. The French want nothing less than to reform individual traffic in the inner city.
Citroën mobilized French families in the 1960s with the Ami, which was both practical and affordable. More than a million customers made the midsize car available as a sedan and station wagon, the best-selling car at the time.
A good six decades later, the French automaker is now preparing to offer an affordable mobility solution. The name has remained the same, but unlike its predecessor, the new Ami is aimed exclusively at city dwellers.
The cube-shaped mini-mobile is purely electric and only travels a good 70 kilometers.
This means that the production model introduced now falls short of the promises of the show car Ami One Concept. In 2019, Citroën first presented its idea for a city vehicle in a concept car at the Geneva Motor Show.
However, the missing 30 kilometers alone will not decide the car’s fate; after all, 70 kilometers in the city is a relatively long distance.
And because the small lithium-ion battery only has a capacity of 5.5-kilowatt hours, it can be fully charged again in just three hours, even from a household socket.
Citroën has adopted the box design, which takes some getting used to, almost one-to-one from the concept car. The car looks relatively identical from the front and rear and, like the study, is reminiscent of a Lego car.
Funny: Driver and passenger doors are identical. On the left, the door is hinged at the back, on the right at the front; Citroën wants to reduce costs with identical parts like these. The Ami has also retained its compact dimensions. The designers’ philosophy: a city car should take up as little space on the road as possible.
They have succeeded in doing so; at 2.41 meters in length, the two-seater undercuts even the first smart generation. Nevertheless, even two tall passengers sit surprisingly comfortably. The width is also absolutely suitable for big cities: the gnom measures just 1.39 meters (without exterior mirrors) and can thus easily wind its way through parked alleys. A further plus: the compact dimensions, together with small 14-inch wheels, ensure a tiny turning radius of 7.20 meters.
There is a little storage space on the dashboard and behind the seats, but there is not much room for comfort in the mobility cube: the passenger seat offers no adjustment options whatsoever, just like the duck, there are only folding windows, no infotainment system, manually adjustable exterior mirrors and plenty of hard plastic.
But nobody will really be bothered by it on the way from the Eiffel Tower to Montmartre or from the Brandenburg Gate to Alexanderplatz. It might be more difficult for some people to do without the top speed: The Ami, which is powered by a 5 kW/7 PS electric motor, runs at a maximum speed of 45 km/h. That is enough in the traffic jam-stricken metropolises during the day.
The strict speed limit, however, is a clever move by Citroën: in Germany, for example, the little dwarf is already allowed to be driven at the age of 16 with a scooter driving license; in his home country, even 14-year-olds are allowed to go on tour with it.
The French are positioning themselves less as competitors to cars and more to mopeds and other two-wheelers – with a roof over their heads, a crash zone, and better transport possibilities.
Citroën also wants to make access to the Ami as easy as possible: In France, it should be possible to lease the electric car for just under 20 euros a month, and anyone who wants to buy the little speedster can do so for only 6,900 euros. This also makes it interesting for companies that could use a few Amis as pool vehicles for their employees. In addition, the car manufacturer is integrating the car into its car-sharing service Free2Move, where it can be rented at the minute price of 26 cents.
In addition to the classic Citroën dealerships, the Ami will also be available for purchase online.
One question remains, of course: Do you need a car to get to the supermarket, gym or city hall? No, many will say. Especially in cities, public transportation is relatively well developed. But there are just as many city dwellers who do not want to do without individual mobility.
So the Ami might be just right for all those who don’t need a big car and certainly don’t need a status symbol.