In a break from the ongoing miseries of 2020, I thought it about time I returned to a theme I’ve explored a couple of times on my blog. As regular readers will know I’m a big fan of electric vehicles (EVs) and of innovative, well-designed products. Well, recently, I’ve been reading about something that neatly fits into both camps.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the most remarkable EV yet, the Citroën Ami One.
This eye-catching little buggy was launched this year in France, but it’s currently unclear when it will glide silently over to the UK.
Have a look at the picture, there’s no doubt it’s a funny-looking thing, It follows in the great Citroën tradition of forward-thinking design that’s unashamedly love-me-or-loathe-me by nature (think 2CV or DS). Unless you’re a true fan of the avant-garde, you might be a little put-off.
Don’t be. There’s some brilliant design thinking going on here.
The most significant difference in this market is the Ami One is an EV specifically designed to serve an Eco-conscious urban population. It’s aimed squarely at city dwellers who need economy and convenience more than speed.
The weird push-me-pull-you body is not an unfortunate slip of the designer’s pen. It’s entirely deliberate as it reduces the number of aftermarket body panels required for a repair as the front and rear sections are identical. The same is true for the doors, with one being a suicide opener, so only one door design is needed to deal with dents.
It’s powered by a smallish 5.5 KW battery that can be swiftly charged in just 3 hours using a domestic socket. Consequently, it’s not fast and is limited to 30 mph but has a useable 43-mile range.
Road tests show it’s nippy, comfortable and performs brilliantly in the densely packed urban sprawl. It has plenty of useful features to satisfy the modern Eco-warrior, including intelligent storage solutions for a bit of organic shopping and phone friendly Bluetooth compatibility so you can stay connected.
For city-based or adjacent SMEs the Ami One would make a tax-efficient, ultra-cheap option for quickly getting to meetings or dropping off food orders still hot from the kitchen. It would be perfect for metropolitan courier services or as a cheap taxi for lone travellers. As it’s flea-sized, you can park it in the minutest of spaces.
With some imaginative vinyl wrapping, it would make a fantastic promotional vehicle. And get this, a 16-year-old could drive one on a UK provisional licence so even the office apprentice can have a drive. They’d love that, I suspect.
Despite all that it’s cheap coming in at around £5500. If you can get past the Marmite looks this is a great value, highly functional car to do brief urban jaunts or low-speed commutes. At that cost, the payback curve is remarkably short, and it will easily avoid any of the expense associated with the developing network of regional low emission zones.
The plan is it will be available in big European cities for short rentals on a pay per kilometre basis allowing for economical cross-town trips. Equally appealing is that it can be leased from Citroën with a small deposit for around ¢20 per month. That’s cheap in anyone’s book for a versatile little runaround. An Ami One would be ideal for getting me from my co-working hub to networking events and meetups in the city centre.
I’ll leave it to you to decide if you’d put one in your parking spot. I certainly would as a cheap contribution to the greener future that will see petrol and diesel cars banned by 2030.
It’s yet another step towards the future of motoring, and the Ami One is Citroën’s typically sideways view of what cleaner, greener transport of the future will look like.
And to be fair, I think they may have a point.
If you want an Ami One in your life, then you’ll need to let Citroën UK know your enthusiasm for a UK launch by registering your details here: .