Citroën has unveiled its Ami One concept car, although perhaps we shouldn’t call it a concept car—according to Citroën, the Ami One is an “urban electric mobility object.”
Named for a delightfully ugly Citroën supermini of the early 1960s (ami is French for “friend”), the Ami One is a two-seat all-electric city car with a sliding canvas roof. At just over eight feet long, it’s about half a foot shorter than a Smart ForTwo. Its design is such that many of the parts are interchangeable from side to side and front to back, including various body panels, the fenders, and even the doors. Those pieces are particularly cool, as the right one is front-hinged and the left one rear-hinged.
Inside, the Ami One features asymmetrically designed seats; the driver’s is adjustable while the passenger seat is fixed. A small “driving pod” has a space for a smartphone that not only is used to turn the car on but also serves as the projector element for a small head-up display. The car can also be locked and unlocked by scanning a QR code near the door mirrors. The car’s attendant app also provides navigation assistance and can guide the driver to an unoccupied charger or a reserved parking space at their destination.
Citroën says the Ami One would be offered to customers under the most flexible of terms—“from five minutes to five years”—meaning that the Ami One could be accessed as part of its Free2Move car-sharing program, as a short-term rental, by subscription service, or on a five-year lease that includes maintenance and parking.
Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising bit of the press release is that it will be “accessible without a driving license.” That’s because in some European locales, vehicles like the Ami One belong to a class called “quadricycles” that are usually speed limited and banned from major roads. They can be legally driven by anyone over the age of 16, whether or not they have certification. This easy accessibility, Citroën says, makes the Ami One a viable alternative to scooters, mopeds, and public transportation. As such, it should do wonders for Parisian traffic.
Citroen hasn’t yet released much in the way of specifications such as power or range, nor has it set a firm commitment to—or timeline for—production. However, in a move that gives us some idea of where the business model is going, the company is already selling a full line of Ami One merchandise on the Citroën Lifestyle site, including keychains, smartphone cases, and USB cables, along with a 1:43 scale model of the car. And there’s more on the way, including a windbreaker, a portable Bluetooth speaker, and—we swear we are not making this up—a solar-powered origami toy version developed in partnership with Litogami. Who says there isn’t money to be made on electric cars? Well, electric objects, anyway.