Citroen Ami: £18 per month (plus £3,150 upfront), 43-mile electric range

Anyone for a tiny all-electric car that can be hired by the minute and driven by 14-year olds? Shame it isn’t confirmed for the UK (yet)

James Wilson
Apr 29, 2020

Those wondering what an Oxo cube-shaped electric city car would look like need wonder no more, as Citroen has made one and called it Ami. Citroen is very much targeting the urban drivers of tomorrow with the Ami, as it is set to come with a multitude of purchase and hire options (including being able to rent one by the minute) and a total range of 43 miles.

Why? Well, Citroen has cited a report stating that by 2030 one in three kilometres travelled are expected to be undertaken using shared mobility - eg transport that's not owned by the driver but shared and borrowed - meaning there is a potentially huge opportunity for anyone willing to meet this demand.

With a headline figure of £18 per month, you may imagine seeing thousands of these in no time. However, don't forget the €3,544 (£3,150) needed upfront. Pay less upfront and you can be sure that the monthly payment will go up in line with this.

Compared to most other electric cars currently on the market, the Ami is much more utilitarian. For example, where models such as the Renault Zoe come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charging and large touchscreen displays, the Ami comes with a central cargo net, a hook for hanging a handbag and manually opening windows.

At the same time, this all fits with the Ami brief. Citroen wanted to create a long-lasting, affordable car in which to nip around towns and cities. The more equipment that is included, the more there is to go wrong and the more expensive the Ami would have been to make (and hire/buy). Plus, keeping weight down with a minimalist design helps maximise the range of a battery.

Quick facts

  • Claimed range of 43 miles
  • Three-hour charge from a normal socket
  • Compact two-seat interior
  • Unconfirmed for the UK market
  • Top speed of 28mph
  • Purchase or rental options

Citroen Ami electric range and charge times

In line with its dinky proportions, the Citroen Ami has an equally dinky battery pack. With a total capacity of 5.5kWh the Ami’s battery pack is around a tenth of the size of that used in Renault’s latest all-electric Zoe, which is a pretty small electric car as it is.

Still, as the Ami is so small and light, Citroen is claiming that it offers an electric range of up to 43 miles, with a full charge taking three hours from a regular household plug. That means no searching around for a fast-charger or a rapid-charger as you might be tempted to do to top up the larger battery packs in other electric cars

Citroen Ami performance

Citroen is yet to confirm a full breakdown of performance figures, but flat out the Ami is only expected to be able to hit 28mph - this is very much a car for travelling around towns and cities, not heading cross-country or zooming along the motorway.

That would be a no to the land speed record, then, but considering that an increasing number of town and city centres are gradually being restricted to 20mph speed limits, this is all the Ami will ever have to do. It's still fast enough for you to get a speeding ticket.

Citroen Ami prices and finance

Just like many other new cars, the Ami can be bought outright or leased, but there is also a third option - car sharing. Those who opt for the sharing approach (after all, sharing is caring) can get behind the wheel of an Ami for one minute, one hour, one day or even longer and only pay for what they use.

Free2Move (which is part of the same conglomerate of companies as Citroen) will be the first to offer Ami models to car sharers with prices starting at as little as €0.26 (£0.23) per minute. As you might expect in this day and age, a smartphone app will be the platform on which drivers can locate and access cars that are available for hire.

For those wanting their own car but not wanting to pay the Ami’s list price, Citroen will offer a monthly lease deal. Following a first payment of €3,544 (£3,150) drivers will have to stump up €19.99 (£17.77) a month. High rollers can pay €6,900 (£6,133) to buy an Ami outright should they wish.

Citroen Ami delivery dates

Currently, Citroen hasn’t confirmed if or when the Ami will be available in the UK - which is believed to be down to Citroen considering the legal implications of having a car such as the Ami on UK roads and also weighing up the costs of creating a right-hand-drive version.

French order books opened at the end of March 2020, with Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Germany following shortly afterwards. Or at least that was the plan pre-coronavirus… In certain European countries, the Ami can be driven with no licence at all and by people as young as 14. The UK is not so happy to let teenagers take to the road with no kind of vetting, though, so UK 14-year-olds don't set your heart on getting the keys to an Ami anytime soon.

Saying that, depending on model specification (assuming one gets made and it is lighter than the French model) 16-year-olds might legally be able to drive the Ami in the UK as in the eyes of the government it could technically be classed as a quadricycle, rather than a car.

Citroen Ami trims, specs and technology

While there isn’t a wealth of exciting equipment available with an Ami, it still manages to be more interesting than most other cars on the road. This is thanks to curious features such as windows that fold up manually (rather than wind down), front and rear bumpers which are identical to one another, a rear-hinged driver's door and a lack of boot – luggage simply has to fit in the spaces behind the seats and in front of the passenger instead.

Other standard equipment includes a panoramic roof, 14-inch wheels, door storage nets, handbag hook, heater and a cradle for drivers’ smartphones. The latter means there is no music or navigation option without a smartphone.

Much like other new cars, there is an app for users to download onto their smartphones for important car data. This includes information such as available range, charge status, any maintenance alerts and tutorials on how to use an Ami (think digital user guide).

While all Ami versions are set to come in the same blue-ish grey and black roof combo, buyers can specify one of four colour themes. These change the colour of various exterior parts such as alloy wheel inserts and body graphics. Similarly, buyers can select the colour of a number of interior trims. The colours available (for both interior and exterior features) are grey, blue, orange and khaki.

Rounding off the personalisation options are two style packs. The first, called the My Ami Pop goes for a racy look thanks to a spoiler and motorsport-esque number graphic on the doors. While the other, named the My Ami Vibe, goes for a more rugged look (if that is possible on a car which is the same size a tic-tac) thanks to roof rails and plastic cladding around the bottom of the bodywork.

Citroen Ami rivals and alternatives

Some might find it surprising that the Citroen Ami does, in fact, have a rival. It is called the Twizy and is part of Renault’s lineup of electric cars. Thanks to its outlandish styling and open cockpit (where there is space for two) Renault’s Twizy is even more eccentric than the Ami.

Renault claims that the Twizy has a range of 62 miles – although expect to lose a good chunk of that in the real world – a top speed of 50mph and that a full charge takes three and a half hours. While these figures may appear to put the Ami to shame, the Twizy starts at £10,685 which is a significant premium over its fellow French rival.

Ultimately, both the Ami and Twizy offer similar propositions. While the Ami is more practical, more affordable and comes with a closed heated cabin, venturing outside of urban environments just isn’t a reality.

On the other hand, while you would hardly want to plough from London to Leeds in the Twizy, the extra performance and range will be invaluable to some.

 

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