Natashah Hitti / 4 Mar 2020
Citroën has released Ami, an electric car that will be available on a subscription service to city-dwellers as young as 14 years old as it doesn’t require a driving license.
Described by the French automobile manufacturer as a “non-conformist object”, the Ami car is classified as a fully electric quadricycle, and can therefore be operated without a driving license.
This means that people as young as 14 in France, and 16 in other European countries, will be able to drive the car, granted that they have passed a road safety certificate – a short course offered in some European countries that does not require a test.
Ami is billed as an urban mobility solution that is a safer alternative to scooters, bicycles, mopeds and public transport.
“If you look at society beyond the car industry, there is an environmental conscience emerging, but it doesn’t mean that mobility should be restricted,” said Citroën CEO Vincent Cobée.
“Ami is the answer to the societal problem, which is individual, clean, urban mobility,” he added. “It’s a very compact mobility solution you can use from the age of 14, zero-emission, no driving licence, extremely affordable and very pleasant to drive.”
The car has a compact size – measuring at 2.4 metres long, 1.4 metres wide and 1.5 metres tall – that lends itself to short-distance city travel and easy parking.
The car has a range of up to 43 miles (70 kilometres) and a single charge. It runs on a battery that can be recharged in three hours from a standard electric socket, “just like a smartphone”.
This 5.5 kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery is fitted into the flat floor, and can be charged from an electric cable incorporated by the passenger-side door.
“Disruptive projects are always the best projects,” said Pierre Leclercq, head of style at Citroën. “The design of Ami is a product design, not an automotive design. A design for which the form must define the function.”
“The common denominator among all future users will not be their gender, age, socio-professional category, place of residence or even less their level of education, but rather their need for mobility,” added market research manager Michel Costa.
When it launches in Europe, the production car will come with three usage options: it can be rented from €19.99 per month or rented on-the-go via the Free2Move platform from €0.26 per minute.
Alternatively, it could be purchased for private use at a starting price of €6,000. Orders open for the Ami in France on 30 March 2020. It will then be rolled out in other European countries.
According to Leclercq, the Ami vehicle was designed “from the inside out”, prioritising a spacious cabin that can accommodate two people, with a dedicated area on the dashboard for a smartphone to provide navigation and music.
It has two, symmetrical doors that open in the opposite direction of each other – the door on the driver’s side is rear-hinged to offer better on-board accessibility.
Large expanses of glass and a panoramic roof also fill the interior with natural light, with the glazing making up 50 per cent of the car’s total surface above the body line.
The vehicle can also be customised with six different coloured accessory kits that include functional, decorative elements from mats and storage trays to bag hooks and smartphone clips.
While the Ami One concept was debuted at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, the Ami production car was showcased at Citroën’s stand-alone event La Défense Arena in Paris this year.
This year’s edition of the Geneva Motor Show was cancelled due to a government ban on large events in light of the coronavirus. Renault was set to present its Morphoz concept at the event – an all-electric car that can be physically extended from a more compact city-car to a longer travel version.
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