Citroen ami electric city car: sales begin in France

Citroen ami showcases brand's idea of electric urban mobility; 200 orders received within hours of sales starting

Citroen ami

Sales of the electric Citroen ami have got off to a strong start in its home market of France, with the manufacturer saying 200 orders were received within hours of its sales website opening. All were processed online, with 85% involving some degree of customisation on the part of the buyer.

The cheapest lease plan starts for the ami starts at €19.99 per month (the equivalent of around £17.45) following an initial payment of €2,644 (£2,308). That includes a local subsidy of €900 – applicable whichever model you go for.

French buyers also have the option of buying the car outright, with prices starting from €6,000 (£5,238) including the €900 grant. A top-spec Citroen ami Vibe, with the graphic packs, coloured wheels and roof trims, costs €7,360 (£6,426). Insurance can be provided by Axa for €270 (£235) and every car comes with a two-year warranty.

The ami is an electric quadricycle based on the AMI ONE concept, first seen at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. It can charge from a domestic plug in three hours, and has a total range of 43 miles.

In addition to that headline price, Citroen will offer the ami under its Free2Move initiative, whereby you can rent the 2.4-metre-long electric car for as little as 26c (23p) per minute. Citroen claims the ami “is for everyone” whether you need the car “one minute, to one year and more – to share, to rent or to buy”. There's no word on whether the car – or indeed the Free2Move car-sharing scheme – will come to the UK at a later date.

With a 5.5kWh lithium-ion battery mounted under the floor, the ami can be recharged using the standard-fit cable located in the passenger doorway. The car will do almost 30mph, and has a tight turning circle of just 7.2 metres.

The two doors open in opposite directions; one is hinged from the front and the other from the rear. The wheels have been pushed right out to the corners for maximum interior room, while the standard panoramic roof further emphasises this feeling of space for the two passengers. To keep costs down, the side windows are opened and closed manually.

The AMI ONE concept vehicle was the star of Citroen's stand at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. The brand described it at the time as a "popular, modern and timely response to new customer behaviour and the challenge of the energy transition in the city".

Citroen ami design

The ami is designed to offer maximum interior space with the smallest possible external footprint. Its boxy design gives plenty of headroom, while the large glasshouse should make for excellent visibility in and around town.

There are echoes of the original Citroen C4 Cactus at the front end, with separate daytime running lights and round headlamps. The same is true of the car in profile, where the firm’s designers have incorporated Airbump technology to protect the ami from parking dings.

Citroen says the ami is highly customisable and available in seven different ‘versions’. There are four main colours, which can then be bolstered by orange or grey accessory packs, as well as options like a smartphone clip or wi-fi dongle.

Arnaud Belloni, Citroen's global marketing and communications director, suggested that the ami will also be the basis of several special editions: "There is an enormous list of companies who want to work with [Citroen]," he told us. "The project is agile; it was born to add small limited editions very often".

Interior

There's space for two adults sitting side-by-side inside the ami, as opposed to one behind the other as in a Renault Twizy. The passenger seat is fixed, but the driver’s seat slides forward and back to “accommodate the tallest of occupants”. Citroen says there's a recess in the passenger footwell big enough for a carry-on-sized suitcase, as well as another storage area at the rear of the ami.

Specifications

While the concept featured huge 18-inch wheels, the production-ready ami sits on new, specially designed 14-inch wheels and measures 2.41 metres long, 1.39 metres wide and 1.52 metres tall. The total weight including the battery is 485kg.

With zero emissions, the ami should enjoy unrestricted access to city centres as low-emissions zones and congestion charges become more prevalent in coming years. In France, order books are open now, with Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Germany due soon. UK availability is unconfirmed as yet – but if the project is a success, marketing boss Belloni says: "anything is possible".