Tiny, low-cost, low-tech EV is designed to be robust for a car-sharing future and could be driven without a license

Citroën's tiny Ami One city car concept has gone on display in the UK for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The Ami One, which made its public debut at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, is a two-seat show car that meets Europe’s quadricycle regulations. That means it’s less than 1.5m wide, has a top speed of 28mph and weighs less than 450kg. As a result, it could be driven without a driving licence in some countries

The concept explores some of the issues facing makers of very small cars as consumers turn to bigger models or stop buying cars entirely. 

“The young are connected to use, not ownership,” said Citroën’s senior vice-president of product and strategy, Xavier Peugeot. “To me, Ami One is not a car. There are people for whom mobility is not an object.” 

The Ami One is intended to be a vehicle whose use would be shared at least as much as it’s privately owned, so it is built simply and cheaply and to be tough. 

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“The materials are all chosen for durability,” said Frédéric Duvernier, Citroën’s head of concept cars, who led the design of the Ami One. 

To cut production costs, there’s a huge reduction in the number of components required to make the Ami One. The front and rear windows are different but otherwise body panels are common across sides wherever possible. 

Both doors are the same, so the driver’s door is rear-hinged, the passenger side conventional; the orange panels below the windscreen and rear window are common; the chevron-ribbed sills are common across four sides; and every wheel arch is an identical moulding. Exterior badging is all by decal and the rear lights use only two LEDs apiece. 

Onboard electrical content is pared back, too. The Ami One integrates with the entertainment and navigation systems of a smartphone, whose screen it mirrors onto a head-up display and which the driver controls by voice. That and the instruments are where the car’s only interior electrics lie. The windows are either open or closed, not electrically operated, and the 2CV-style fold-back roof is hand-operated. 

According to Citroën CEO Linda Jackson, the Ami One is not cited for production but does explore what Citroën’s city cars could become, given the segment’s dwindling number of buyers. 

“When you see the size of the segment, and people moving to B-segment and B-SUVs, we’ll not straight replace the C1,” she said. “What is the evolution? We’re talking urban areas and car sharing, although you might want ownership. Anything for cities means electric. We need to look at the A-segment and what is the next answer. Maybe it is the Ami One."

Q&A with Frederic Duvernier, head of concept cars, Citroen

What brought about the Ami One? 

“Between 16 and 30 years old, nobody buys cars. So there’s a group who don’t buy cars but who still need to move. Concept cars have a role in the company to move us forwards. We asked ourselves questions with every part: do we need it, or what do we need?”

Tell us about its design. 

“Initially, it was going to be smaller. When you are surrounded by SUVs, you must feel confident. It’s not friendly. It’s not feminine. It’s robust, as a tool. On the exterior, we have halved the number of components you’d normally need."

And what about the interior? 

“It’s the same thinking as the [2007] Cactus concept inside. Maybe that was too early! But the world has changed very quickly. The interior paint is like on aeroplanes. The seat flock is super-low tech. And dotted fabric hides stains."

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Comments
15

19 February 2019

The future looks awful 

19 February 2019
rare wrote:

The future looks awful 

Concept is very similar to the Toyota iQ but comes 10 years after that car. Design doesn't seem to be as well executed, but technology underneath looks up to date

20 February 2019

I mean, it's no NSX, obviously.  But for what it is... perhaps the first example of an interesting, even desirable, design.  Well played, Citroen!

5 March 2019

Car sharing would be the only option, it seems, as I cant see anyone wanting to own one.

19 February 2019

 Having seen what the Traffic is like in major Cities, a Car like this would be ideal, no need to actually own it one either, they could pay a monthly subscription and could pick one up from where they might be parked, as a City solution it’s a good idea, what are we doing in the UK......?

19 February 2019
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 Having seen what the Traffic is like in major Cities, a Car like this would be ideal, no need to actually own it one either, they could pay a monthly subscription and could pick one up from where they might be parked, 

 

This will work for some but be no good at all for others. People love having a car that's their own. It's where they want it, when they want it, has their stuff in the boot, is the colour and spec they want and doesn't have a stranger's vomit on the seat. People will continue to want to own their own car long, long, long into the future.

19 February 2019

Do carmakers understand this is not by choice however?

If you look at insurance premiums for young drivers, it's unsurprising they use taxis and ubers - it's massively cheaper than running a car.

This could, of course, be fixed by government regulating the insurance companies - as they used to back in the good old days.

Instead due to some "free market" thinking, insurers are allowed to segregate the risk of young drivers - and charge a king's ransom. That isn't how insurance is supposed to work.

19 February 2019

Must admit that I like the idea of a small affordable EV for local commutes - and this one certainly shows some fresh thinking! Also looks a bit more usable than the Renault Twizzy. And if it was modular construction, the design would lend itself to a longer 4-seat version as well. 

19 February 2019

A very intelligent design. But 28 mph top speed is too slow to be used anywhere other than the city centre which is likely to have ample public transport anyway.

Decline in car ownership in the younger generation may be related to their preference for living in the city (for those who can afford it) rather than in the suburbs. The cost of fuel and commuting time would also spell the end of suburban living.

19 February 2019

No good in the UK though where the unlicensed aren't even allowed to glide along at 15mph (or indeed any speed) on an electric bike without pedalling. If urban centres were geared up for exclusively safe slow-speed traffic (as opposed to traffic jams just making it slow) it might have a chance. Trouble with quadricycles is what happens when they are hit by bigger vehicles.

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