The Citroen Ami electric car breaks down a lot of barriers -- kind of like the 2CV.
Citroen wants Europe to change the way it thinks about vehicle ownership. Not with a concept car or some far-off scheme, but with something coming to the real world. Its name is Ami.
The Citroen Ami broke cover on Thursday ahead of a reveal at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show and the specs aren't the story, but how people drive one is. Those interested can lease one of these electric cars for $22 a month, grab one from a car-sharing service for under $1 a minute, and those as young as 14 can get behind the wheel, at least in Citroen's home country of France.
There's no driver's license required for the Ami, Citroen says, since it's actually classified as an electric quadricycle, which makes the tiny electric car available to 14-year-olds in France. That age is different across Europe, but nevertheless, the French brand marks this car as mobility for everyone. Availability expands its scope outside the typical dealership model, too.
Citroen doesn't actually call this a car, but an "object." Its definition will allow Citroen to sell the Ami in partner stores. Or you might catch the tiny EV zipping around mobile test-drive centers. For online shoppers, it'll be available there as well, and Citroen will even arrange home delivery of the Ami for 6,000 euros -- about $6,600 at the current exchange rate.
With a historical lens, it's easy to compare the Ami to the 2CV, the French car that arguably kickstarted the French automobile industry. In fact, the "Ami" name actually comes from the 2CV, which spawned its own Ami variant between 1961 and 1978. While the 2CV put the French behind the wheel of cars, Citroen's new Ami looks to kickstart its own EV revolution of sorts with the promise of availability for nearly everyone.
While the availability aspect is certainly the crux of the Ami, we do have some specs from the French company. The car, or should I say "object," is pretty small. It measures only 95 inches long and 55 inches wide, so for some perspective, it's far shorter than a 140-inch Fiat 500 and 5 inches slimmer. Yeah, it's a small thing, and it mixes a sort of industrial look with cutesy vibes.
The lithium-ion battery onboard holds 5.5 kilowatt hours worth of energy, which translates to 43 miles worth of driving range. From a standard European outlet, it'll charge in just three hours. Hardly a Tesla killer, but that's not the Ami's point. Rather, it's meant for short distances and will gladly motor through areas where pollution controls have banned internal-combustion engines, an immediate prospect in many European cities.
Inside, there's room for two people to sit side by side and a surprising amount of storage. Citroen worked in a storage compartment beneath the passenger's feet, which will hold a small suitcase, and a second compartment sits in the rear. Oodles of customization is available for buyers ranging from colors to wheels and two additional packs to make the EV look sportier, or "chic," according to the brand.
Can Ami reinvent the wheel? Citroen thinks so, and it seems like the adorable EV has all the right stuff to combat the current and forthcoming changes to regulations in Europe. Perhaps we're looking at 2CV 2.0.