Citroen Ami review


What is?

The only thing it isn’t is a car. yes, it sounds like one, four wheels and all, but the Citroën Ami is actually designated as a quadricycle, neatly sidestepping a host of regulations needed to be classified as an adult vehicle. So you get a small 458kg (including battery) “urban mobility object” designed to be a personal transportation module that replaces things like the subway or a bus ride. Or even an e-bike or scooter. Basically the missing link in the automotive industry. It’s not big: less than a meter and a half wide (1.4, in fact) and less than two and a half long, but it can accommodate two people in relative comfort. Although not very comfortable, and it depends on your definition.

Under the front is a 6kW motor and 5.5kWh battery – and no, that’s not a typo – single speed front axle and a top speed of less than 30mph, with a possible range of 47 miles. The bodywork itself is made from unpainted/impregnated ‘Blue Ami’ plastic on a rudimentary box-section chassis, and if you look closely you’ll notice that the car is actually symmetrical: the front and rear panels are the same, the side windows and doors, etc., all interchangeable from side to side. This lowers production costs and makes it cheaper, but more on that in a bit.

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What it is is a vehicle designed for the most important niche of intra-urban travel, literally through cities. Think of it less like a car and more like the world’s most complicated umbrella: instead of biking around town or risking the vagaries of public transport, you simply cruise around in a Friend, keeping yourself personally safe and dry hair.

There are different ways to own or rent one in France (it hasn’t been sanctioned for the UK yet), and you can actually drive one in the UK without a driving license from the age of 16, but the market is likely to they end up in the ride-sharing environment, like a funky Boris bike. However, it is a completely happy thing to do potters in the city. Everybody loves it and it creates the kind of feel-good factor that’s not even possible in a supercar. Basically, the Ami is the complete opposite of overcompensation, though only for people who drive short distances where they don’t have to drive on fast roads or highways. Mainly because it’s illegal to do it in such a small and slow “car”…

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What’s the verdict?

Yes, it’s a rotten “car”… because it’s not. But it’s fun to wear and an absolutely adorable item.

As mentioned, the Ami is a garbage cart, but an absolutely adorable object. It’s not fun to drive, but it’s fun to use. In one city, at least. There is joy in its simplicity, in the way it has been designed, in the way Citroën embraces extravagance. It’s not fancy or revolutionary, but it’s fun and interesting, and if it convinces some Londoners to move into one instead of a mostly idling petrol or diesel SUV, then that’s a good thing. It’s also much safer than an e-scooter or bike given the UK’s variable driving standards, not to mention the weather. Would we buy one? Probably not. Rent? If there was a convenient place to charge, maybe. But for everyone else, an Ami pay-per-use rideshare experience would cover most bases.

Next: Conduct


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