An interpretive dance and a song that made heavy use of the word “freedom”—in English—served as the prelude to the in-the-metal debut of the forward-thinking Ami One concept that was unveiled digitally last month. It’s from Citroën, one of the French automakers that won’t be coming to the U.S. any time soon.
The 1948 Citroën 2CV “liberated country life,” the automaker said, while the Ami One EV “liberates city life.” The Ami One’s unveiling also marked the celebration of Citroen’s 100th anniversary. Its parent brand, Peugeot, was recently announced as the French marque that will return to the U.S. market before 2026.
Like Fiat with its Centoventi concept, the Ami One anticipates future models for using cars, its builder saying it could be made available to drivers for “five minutes to five years” via sharing, short-term renting, long-term leasing, or outright ownership.
While the 2CV was designed for French farmers with its 2-horsepower engine (that being based on tax levels), the Ami One is even more modestly powered, with lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor that provide a 28-mph top speed and 62 miles of range. An onboard plug may be used to recharge the car, and a full charge takes just two hours.
It’s a 98.4-inch-long box of a two-seater with an asymmetric body and a roll-up fabric sunroof. The driver’s door is hinged at the back, while the passenger door is hinged in front, meaning they’re identical to better and more affordably facilitate repairs or customization.
Citroën claims the Ami One may be operated by people without driver’s licenses, from age 16 on up, due to France’s quadricycle laws. Its “innovative global digital ecosystem” enables the on-demand usage, while a mobility app manages the relationship between user and the vehicle and a function called Trip Planner suggests best possible routes.
The Ami One may be only a concept, but it looked right at home on a stand that celebrated the marque’s centenary with such breakthroughs as the ’19 Type A, the ’34 Traction Avant, and that cute-by-way-of-ugly 2CV.