► Tiny two-seat, all-electric city runabout
► 46-mile range, left-hand drive only
► Now available in the UK for £7695
A new beach buggy version of the Citroen Ami – cringily dubbed My Ami Buggy – has been shown, with pared-back features, a rollback cloth roof and no doors. Sadly, the Méhari-inspired Mediterranean runabout is limited to just 50 units, all of them reserved for the French market. Don’t expect to see any in Miami – or Maidstone – any time soon…
It comes the day after Citroen’s tiny electric car went on sale in the UK. The Ami is essentially a low-cost urban mobility pod, and Citroen UK has confirmed pricing here will start at £7695, with the miniature van-alike Ami Cargo version available for £7995.
You can even hire the Ami on a £19.99-a-month PCP over two years, if you can stump up the chunky £2369 deposit. If you consider it a car, this is the cheapest new vehicle you can buy today, undercutting the Dacia Sandero hatchback by a couple of grand.
The Ami is tiny, measuring a mere 2.41m in length and has a taxi-like 7.20m turning diameter. Its makers say that parking and city driving in it is an absolute doddle. Compared with a moped or scooter it’s more sociable to sit side-by-side in a comfortable, warm and enclosed space, but we’ll see if the Ami comes close to challenging the dominance of two-wheeled city transport.
Citroen describes it as a micro-mobility solution that’s environmentally sound as well as safer and more usable than the usual scooters, bicycles and mopeds you see in city centres, while being priced to compete with public transport. It follows on from the Ami One concept car.
Driven: our Citroen Ami review
And the design?
Like the concept, it comes with symmetrical parts, so replacing doors will be a simple matter, as passenger and driver’s side are identical. The side windows are also symmetrical for the simplest production possible. Front and rear bumpers, the bottoms of the bumpers and under-body panels are also identical – very clever.
There are seven versions to choose from, and it’s available with a variety of options to make the car your own – so there are storage nets, mats, a smartphone clip, a dongle which connects live data to your Ami smartphone app. There are also two packs to choose from – My Ami Pop and My Ami Vibe.
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Tell us about the tech on the new Citroen Ami
It’s an all-electric quadricycle with a maximum speed of 28mph, and is said to have a battery range of 43 miles. Citroen says that is a far greater distance than the average travelled by typical city dwellers.
The production version of the Citroen Ami packs a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, housed flat under the floor, and can be recharged from a three-pin (sorry, two-pin… there’s a French plug and a UK converter) socket in around three hours. It can also be charged at one of the many public chargers that litter our cities.
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It’s a light and spacious thing, with an interior that’s roomy for two – and unlike some quadricycles such as the Renault Twizy, there’s full glazing and a panoramic roof. In fact, more than 50% of its upper body is glazed, so there will be no excuse for not being seen at those tricky priorite a driote roundabouts in Paris. There are masses of storage spaces inside, too.
What’s different about the Ami Cargo?
The Citroen Ami Cargo is a tiny commercial vehicle – don’t expect DHL to take one on, but your local pizza parlour might.
The passenger seat has been removed and replaced with a polypropylene cargo module – or a big plastic box. This can be accessed via what was once the passenger door (on the UK nearside – Ami Cargos remain left-hand drive) or by lifting the top.
It’ll hold 260 litres with a maximum payload of 140kg.
Citroen reckons the Ami Cargo will be popular in big cities where not only is it practical – small, electrically-powered and cheap to run – but characterful and eye-catching. The Ami Cargo turns heads, and can be liveried up to become a really dinky moving billboard. Just the sort of thing businesses were doing with Renault Twizys not so long ago.
How much re-engineering is needed for the UK?
Don’t hold your breath for a steering wheel on the right side of the car; UK Amis will remain strictly left-hand drive. Citroen UK managing director Eurig Druce – the driving force behind the 1.4m-wide vehicle’s introduction this side of the Channel – says: ‘Is it really a problem? When you sit in the Ami, you’re not far away from the right side in any case. If we moved the steering wheel, you’re talking about maybe a 30cm shift in position.’
In France the two-seat Ami charges its 5.5kWh battery in just three hours off a domestic plug; for the UK, it will need converting to a Type 2 socket to access public chargers and domestic wallboxes. Other changes naturally include converting the digital odometer to mph, and realigning the headlamps.
‘We need to take these things into consideration and we have to deliver a return for generating those changes,’ says Druce.
To help keep costs down, smart, functional design includes interchangeable body panels front-to-back, identical doors even down to the hinge position and windows that are flipped open by hand.
Citroen is targeting urban dwellers, but also retired rural folk who want a zero-emission way to visit local services in nearby villages. So long as they can avoid A-roads: top speed is 28mph, but that’s adequate for snarled-up cities.
In France, the vast majority of Ami consumers don’t own a Citroen. ‘Their average age is 15 years younger than the norm, and 48 per cent are considering letting their teenagers drive the vehicle,’ explains Citroen CEO Vincent Cobée. French regulations allow 14-year-olds to pilot the EV; in the UK, drivers require a full licence and must therefore be at least 17.