Citroen UK has "huge desire" to bring Ami city car to Britain

Citroën Ami 2020 - stationary rear

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Citroën is in the latter stages of evaluating the Ami electric city car for a sales debut in Britain, according to the firm’s UK managing director.

Speaking to Autocar, Eurig Druce said there is a “huge desire” to bring the quirky two-seater to market here. “This is a true Citroën,” he elaborated. “This is absolutely what Citroën is all about. Its unconventional, it’s fun and it delivers on what it’s intended to be.”

The Ami is intended to propel Citroën into a new era of car-sharing and urban mobility. Crucially, it’s classed as a quadricyle, like the Renault Twizy, which means it can be driven across Europe without a driving licence by those aged 16 or older.

Druce acknowledged that Citroën UK has imported a small number of Amis for assessment, stating that his recent drive in one around Coventry city centre “hasn’t at all impacted on my desire to bring the car to the UK”. 

As part of the “final assessments” ahead of offering it for sale, Citroën will invite media and consumers to test and evaluate the Ami in its current guise. Crucially, Druce admits, if the Ami would “in all likelihood” be left-hand drive if it came here.

“That sounds like a big deal but, of course, due to the size of the car, the difference between having the steering wheel on the left or the right is probably only seven or eight inches – not a huge disadvantage”.

The French firm hopes that the Ami, which remains true to the Ami One concept in 2019, will appeal to a new generation of buyers as the appetite for more traditional entry-level cars, such as the C1 (which is unlikely to be replaced), wanes. It was launched in other European countries this summer. 

The Ami is 90mm longer than the Twizy, at 2.41m, and has a 40mm-wider turning circle of 7.2m. Under its floor is a 5.5kWh lithium ion battery that can deliver up to 47 miles of range, while a sole motor allows it to hit a top speed of 26mph. The battery can be recharged in just three hours from a domestic socket.

In Europe, Citroën is offering three usage models: long-term rental, car-sharing and cash purchase. Rental requires a deposit of €2644 (currently £2227) and monthly payments of €19.99 (£17). Through car-sharing scheme Free2Move, Citroën parent firm the PSA Group’s offering, subscribers can drive the Ami for 26 cents (22p) per minute. To buy, the Ami costs €6000 (£5054).

Acquiring an Ami is an entirely online process, in which the EV can be delivered to one’s home or collected from a pick-up point. It will also be available in traditional Citroën dealerships, as well as pop-up stands in shops, such as French department store chain Fnac.

The Ami’s doors open in opposite directions, being rear-hinged on the driver’s side and front-hinged on the passenger side – a configuration intended to help access. There are two fixed, semi-opening windows, which Citroën flags as a nod to the iconic 2CV. A large glass surface, including a panoramic roof is claimed to give occupants a feeling of space as well as good visibility.

Citroën design boss Pierre Leclercq said the Ami and Ami One concept were developed side–by-side. “The concpet has to be more exceptional than the production car but the cleverless of the industrialisation model is the same, for example the door system and the functionality of the interior.”

He added that the design was not intended to carry over into Citroën’s wider model line. “The project is aside from cars – it has to be special. It doesn’t have to carry the same brand identiy as broader line-up.”

There’s one colour available: Blue Ami, which is a coloured material rather than a paint finish, and described as having “a huge impact” on cost-saving. While the firm didn’t say when the model would become profitable, a spokesman said: “We are not born to make things that are not profitable.”

The interior is closed and heated, while the two seats are positioned side by side so that taller people can fit. Citroën claimed a carry-on suitcase can fit in a recess at the passenger’s feet. Sat-nav and music are accessed via a smartphone placed in a dedicated area in the middle of the dashboard.

Citroën describes the Ami as a “a practical response to new mobility expectations for short journeys [providing] easier access to city centres, micromobility for everyone and a real alternative to scooters, bicycles, mopeds and public transport, and at reasonable costs”.

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Source: Car

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