What Is The Citroën Ami?
This quirky looking French EV is ultra-compact, measuring just 1.4m wide and 2.41m long; Citroën has built the Ami to be the perfect electric car for the commuting Parisian. It makes parking effortless, reduces congestion, and as it doesn't burn fuel, it will help improve the air quality of city centres.
A 5,5kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers the 6kW electric motor. You may think this seems small, but this, with its top speed of 45 kph, keeps this vehicle in the French quadricycle category. This little EV only weighs 458kg too, making it pretty efficient, giving it a range of 75 kilometers. The Ami is the perfect electric car if you need to travel short distances as long as you don't need to drive on fast French roads or motorways.
Who Can Drive The Citroën Ami?
Citroën wants the Ami to be as accessible to as many people as possible. Therefore they have created various ways of owning or renting a Citroën Ami EV in France. Other countries across Europe will start to see similar schemes in the near future too. French drivers can drive one without a driving licence; this makes it available to many people, even 14-year olds; several countries in Europe have similar programs to improve young people's mobility.
You can rent an Ami long term for €19.99 per month, with a €2,644 initial payment. If you want to buy an Ami in France, it will only set you back €6,000 from Citroën dealers and Fnac and Darty stores. It will be available to order from 30th March in France and rolled out in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Germany in the following months.
However, Citroën aims to place the Ami in the car sharing environment, similar to public rental bikes.
In France, you will be able to drive the Citroën Ami for €0.26 per minute via Free2Move with a €9.90 monthly subscription. You can easily find and book an Ami using the Free2Move smartphone app. If you are a Parisian, there is a good chance that you have nowhere to park a car; therefore, you can jump in a Citroën Ami and travel to work and back without the worry of parking your own car in a random street.
But, renting a Citroën Ami is a great option for tourists too, as they can also benefit driving one for a short time. They can pick one up at Gare de Lyon so they can discover the city, visit a museum, art gallery or restaurant in comfort. This means they don't have to resort to full-sized petrol hire car or riding a bike in Parisian traffic.
What Is The Citroën Ami Like To Drive?
As the Citroën Ami is an electric vehicle, it is straightforward to drive and use. On the driver's seat, you will find three buttons labelled park, neutral and drive. It only has two pedals, "stop" and "go", while the dashboard has three buttons for the heater, hazard lights and heated rear windscreen. It is a two-seater, and both seats are made from easy to clean plastic and have two pads for comfort.
The dashboard has a dock for your smartphone and a USB charging port. There is a small compartment for a bag and a couple of cup holders too. There is no air-conditioning, so if you want to cool down, you have to open the simple side windows.
This simplicity is ideal when you think about who could potentially be driving around in one, thanks to car sharing and its availability to teenagers.
The electric motor gives the Ami a 45 kph top speed, which is plenty for what this little EV is built for. Its handling is exceptionally predictable, making it fun and easy to drive around town. You can't filter through traffic like you can on a bike, but the Ami will allow you to fit into much tighter spaces than you can in a regular-sized car. Its compact size will save you time, as you will find it much easier to find a parking space in central Paris.
If you drive a regular electric car day-to-day, you can get frustrated and anxious, as your home comforts deplete your range. But with the Ami, your indicated range is pretty accurate, as you don't have anything draining your electricity while you sit motionless in traffic during your journey.
The panoramic roof is made from glass giving the Ami's occupants uninterrupted views of the Eiffel tower, the world class designer shops of the Champs -Élysées, Notre Dame and iconic Parisian streets. But, it also gives the Ami an airy feel enhanced by the wide windscreen.
Charging A Citroën Ami
You can only charge a Citroën Ami battery through its mains electricity lead. You can't charge the battery with a street charger without a third-party cable convertor, which costs an additional €200. Citroën has designed this EV's battery to be charged at home or in a garage. The reason for this is, domestic plugs are not weatherproof, unlike Type 1 and 2 AC plugs. Therefore, if you are a member of a car sharing scheme, you will likely to find one of these electric vehicles charging in an underground carpark somewhere.
Where will we see the Ami in the Future?
Citroën is a French brand renowned for its quirky cars, and this quirkiness has been passed on to its latest electric vehicle. The Citroën Ami is an electric vehicle that is fun to drive and improves inner city mobility.
If a few city dwellers discover the benefits of commuting in one, rather than burning fuel in their idling petrol or diesel cars, it is undoubtedly a good thing. This small French electric vehicle is much safer and more comfortable than a scooter or bike, especially when you consider the busy Parisian streets. This safety factor will appeal to tourists during their visit.
Although you can buy a Citroën Ami, commuters will be more likely to use them on car sharing schemes. Car sharing with an Ami ticks many boxes and provides an affordable and convenient way to travel. These car sharing schemes could revolutionise short term car rental.