Every now and again a car comes along that captures the imagination and proves immensely popular. And the new Citroen Ami is doing just that.
On the 22nd of September Citroen announced its all-electric city car would be coming to the UK and advance orders were being accepted. On the 27th of September the order books were officially opened to the general public. Within a week, more than 1000 people had paid their £250 deposit for a brand-new Citroen Ami.
It’s all happened so fast you’re probably wondering what the big deal is, and what exactly is a Citroen Ami anyway.
This award-winning Citroen has been turning heads since its launch last year. Now the zero-emissions Ami will officially launch here in the spring of 2022. Citroen describes the Ami as a “daring response to the challenges faced in today’s cities and urban environments”. That sounds a lot like marketing speak, because as a city car the Ami is about as daring as an umbrella when it’s a bit drizzly outside.
The formula is very simple. It’s an all-electric city car (officially a quadricycle) that boasts zero emissions and features an 8bhp electric motor and 5.5kWh battery that recharges in just three hours from a standard electric socket. It has a range of 43 miles and a top speed of 28mph so it’s ideally suited for short city journeys where range and speed aren’t factors, especially when it can be recharged in the time it takes to grab a coffee and wander around a few shops.
Using innovative, lightweight body panels, the Ami weighs just 485kg and has a turning circle of just 7.2 metres. At 2,410mm in length there are only seats for two inside and no boot – instead there’s space for a standard plane-sized piece of cabin luggage. There’s no fancy touchscreen, either, just a holder for the driver’s smartphone, although there is a large glass roof to give a good view up as well as forward. In a nostalgic nod to the iconic Citroen 2CV, the manual side windows of the Ami can also be opened by flipping the glass upwards into a fixed raised position.
The Ami’s zero-emission credentials ensure it is exempt from Congestion and Ultra-low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) charges too. With London’s ULEZ due to be extended in October 2021 , and other cities looking to introduce similar measures, this is a ‘future-proof’ solution to mobility concerns in many UK cities. With an incredibly tight turning circle, this little Citroen is compact and agile, providing an easy solution for navigating busy streets and fitting into narrow parking spaces. Drivers also have access to a wide range of personalisation options, thanks to colourful accessory packs and additions that allow each owner to make their Ami truly unique.
Ami to stay left-hand drive
In terms of UK pricing there aren’t currently any details, but Citroen is expected to keep them close to those in Europe. In France, the basic Ami costs €6,990 (£5,945) rising to €8,350 (£7,119) for the My Ami Vibe. UK cars will come with a Type 2 EV charging adaptor in addition to a three-pin plug, which may add a little to the price, but Citroen hopes to get it as close to European prices as possible, though. The rest of the car will remain unchanged in the UK with four different trim levels likely, plus the commercial Cargo version, expected over here, too.
And speaking of unchanged, Citroen is at pains to remind all customers that the new Ami may well be adapted for the UK market, but it will remain left-hand drive. While this may be enough to put people off under normal circumstances, it isn’t as mad as it sounds.
One significant benefit of Ami’s left-hand drive configuration when being driven in the UK, is that it will allow for a kerbside exit from the vehicle for the driver when parking at the roadside. And as Citroen UK Managing Director, Eurig Druce, stated recently:
“You look at the vehicle as left-hand drive – is it a problem? You’re not that far away from the right-hand side anyway so I think that’s irrelevant.” It’s hard to argue with that logic when you’re dealing with a tiny little city car.
The Citroen Ami is a solution for a very specific problem, but when that problem is urban travel it may well be the best answer we’ve got right now. It’s cute and quirky – although at first glance it’s hard to tell if it’s coming or going. It’s definitely going to be affordable although we have not received any indication on potential monthly leasing rentals on the Ami.
If you’re looking to lease something cheap and cheerful for nipping around town you’d be hard pressed to find anything more suitable than this car: so it’s a big welcome to the new Citroen Ami.
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