To drive the latest Citroën you only have to be older than 13, a licence is optional and you can be sure of getting lots of smiles from pedestrians.
The 101-year-old French marque is making a splash with the Ami, an attempt to recapture its spirit of innovation. Though a thoroughly grown-up project, the cube-shaped electric car costs only $7000 and looks as if it were made in Toytown.
In the era of the coronavirus, when people are turning back to individual transport, Citroën is aiming for the growing market of “urban personal mobility”.
Vincent Cobée, its chief executive, says the car, which has a battery range of 46 miles and seats two, is “a militant act dictated by a refusal to see individual personal transport banished from the urban space”.
The Ami takes advantage of the French category for a “no license car” or light quadricycle. These exceptions have low power and a maximum speed of 28mph, putting them under the same rules as mopeds, which can be driven from the age of 14. Powered by a 50cc petrol engine, they have traditionally been popular with older people in rural areas and drivers who have lost their licenses but Citroën is targeting the young and trendy.
In the era of the coronavirus, when people are turning back to individual transport, Citroën is aiming for the growing market of “urban personal mobility.”
When they have swallowed their pride and got behind the Ami’s wheel, France’s version of Top Gear testers have reported their pleasure at gliding through the Paris traffic.
The reviewers have all noted the public’s favorable response to the playful-looking box on wheels, which looks the same from both ends. Le Figaro’s correspondent said: “Thumbs up. Hand signs, smiling approval from people aged seven to 77. The Ami stirs a wave of enthusiasm.”
Autoplus magazine said: “With the hard reality of cheap plastic it comes over as a toy,” but it allowed that the Ami’s performance was surprisingly impressive and the cabin, with its sunroof and big windows, was a “vast and luminous space”.
Inevitably the Ami is being compared to the Citroën 2CV, the basic but popular people’s car produced from 1948-90. It is smaller, lighter and less powerful but shares the flip-up side windows.
Citroën is selling the Ami on the Internet and through Fnac Darty, the biggest electronics and entertainment chain. Their shops are displaying it with e-scooters and e-bikes. It is already being used by the Free2Move self-service car-sharing company in Paris.