It’s been only a year since we saw the Citroën Ami One concept, yet just 12 months later a production version of the innovative Ami is here, arriving in Europe (but not the UK) this summer.
The Ami is classed as a quadricycle, like the Renault Twizy. This has two crucial benefits: it’s perfect for city living and you don’t need a driving licence to sit behind the wheel, meaning 16-year-olds can drive it. In France, the lower limit is 14 years old.
Car makers have been talking about car sharing and the popular phrase ‘urban mobility’ for years, desperate to alter their business models to reflect a changing world and capitalise on the growing generations of cities. As a result, many are dipping their toes in car-sharing schemes, including Mercedes, BMW and Citroën's parent firm, the PSA Group.
But few have committed to producing a low-cost vehicle aimed squarely at this proposition. It’s true: Citroën isn’t the first, given Renault launched the Twizy in 2012. But that vehicle arrived in a very different time, when car-sharing wasn’t the ultimate goal for the segment.
The Ami will be available from this summer in a number of countries, including France, Spain and Germany, costing €6000 (currently £5054) to buy outright or €19.99 (£17) per month with an initial deposit. Citroën cites the average cost of obtaining a driving licence alone as €1800 (£1536) in France, while it has calculated that it will be cheaper to rent an Ami monthly than run an electric scooter, with the aided benefit of being warm and dry.
But with the weight of PSA behind it and a funky-looking car to appeal to a new generation, Citroën has taken a bold, brave and promising step into a new world, where car ownership isn’t the only way to succeed in the automotive industry.