Smaller than a Smart and cooler than concept show cars, the Ami is now officially on sale in the UK with a sub-£8k pricetag. That makes it officially the most affordable all-electric four-wheeled vehicle on sale. The Ami is already on sale in France and Germany, and is now officially available in the UK. However, while our friends on the continent can enjoy the Ami at 14 years old, our laws mean you will have to wait until you're 16 to drive one. Even then, you'll need to have a full moped (AM) licence. Boo.
Citroen is not only relying on a low basic price in Europe, but also on unconventional sales methods. Rather than go to a showroom, the Ami is available in department stores, supermarkets and on the Internet. It's delivered free to your house as if it were from Amazon, and those who shy away from the big investments can also lease one. In France at least, the car is already available for less than £20 a month – cheaper than most mobile phone or Sky subscriptions. We're still waiting to see if the same sales channels will be offered to British buyers, and for now, the car is offered as a more traditional outright purchase with prices starting from £7,695.
While many will regard the Ami as a car, it's technically a quadricycle - a sub-category of vehicle that lives halfway between a motorbike and a car. Quadricycles are limited to a top speed of 28mph, but don't have to pass the same strict safety tests as a traditional car. Hence the lack of airbags, crumple zones and the like. Think of it as a motorbike that you can't fall off.
The Ami measures just 2.41 metres in length and 1.39 metres wide, making it even smaller than a Smart by a fair chunk. It weighs just 500 kilos even with a battery – almost identical to the classic 2CV and less than a quarter of the weight of an electric car like the Polestar 2.
In addition, with its turning circle of 7.2 meters, it even makes the Smart Fortwo look cumbersome. To help in tight spots even more there are asymmetrical doors, which open in opposite directions on the driver's and passenger sides, folding windows like the 2CV and an interior which could have come from the Lego catalogue. This building block principle is taken literally, because the option packages include shelves, pocket hooks, doormats or decorative strips which can be delivered to your home and added by the owner.
As you might expect for a car which has more in common with a toy than a tourer, this isn’t a car which is designed for big journeys. Like the Renault Twizy it is designed for ‘micro-mobility’ and driving in towns. Thanks to its designation as a quadricycle, top speed is limited to just 27.9mph. The good news is that the limited performance helps the tiny 5.5 kWh deliver a range of 46 miles between charges. It plugs in at a normal household socket, and only takes three hours to be fully operational again. Citroen UK supplies a Type 2 adaptor with all models which means drivers can plug into domestic wallboxes and any public charger with a Type 2 connection.
While the Ami looks much smarter than a Smart in many respects, the Ami can't quite compete with a real car. The top speed of 29.7mph does mean that faster roads are a challenge. Although you are legally permitted to drive the Ami on all roads except motorways, doing so is an exercise in bravery at times. Drivers will also find that the serene silence of a normal electric car is missing in the Ami. Sound insulation isn't really a thing in the Ami and the plastic panels jangle and rattle with every bump in the road. The board-hard seats don’t help either, as you feel every bump. That said, the Ami is terrific fun to drive. In the city, where it was designed to be, it's as quick and as agile as any other car.
The advantage of the tiny turning circle is limited a little by the lack of power steering, and the colourful décor and the tongue-in-cheek design can’t disguise the cheap choice of materials. Oh, and a rear-view mirror wouldn't hurt either. Parking, however, is simplicity itself. Where you’d have to search for a parking space even with a Smart, you still somehow always find a suitable gap with the Ami.
In terms of UK range, the passenger Ami is offered in three trim levels, with customers able to personalise their vehicle further with a choice of three Colour Packs. Standard specification includes a digital speedometer, LED front and rear lights, a panoramic glass sunroof and a USB charging port. Customers can enhance their Ami by adding one of three Colour Packs: Orange, Blue or Grey. These, according to Citroen, can be easily fitted easily at home. Each pack comes with colour-coded wheel trims, rear pillar decals, three colour-coded dashboard storage boxes, a dashboard bag hook and exterior door capsules. Two door storage nets with a colour-coded horizontal band and two black floor mats with colour-coded trim complete the pack.
In addition, all Colour Packs add a separation net between the driver and passenger footwells, a smartphone cradle for the dashboard and a connection box that allows customers to check their Ami’s charge status and more, from the MyCitroën mobile app. Ami 100% ëlectric customers can also choose from two higher trim levels offering even greater levels of customisation: 'Ami Pop' and 'Ami Vibe'. Ami Pop combines the Orange Colour Pack with black trim on the Ami’s front face, lower front and rear bumpers, and around the rear lights. Pop models also feature a black rear spoiler and orange decals surrounding the door capsules featuring a number ‘2’ design. Ami Vibe models feature a black finish to the top of the front bumper, front and rear bumper bases, and rear light surrounds, and adds two decorative black roof rails, black wheel arches and ‘Contours’ decals on the doors and front wings.Both 'Ami Pop' and 'Ami Vibe' are supplied with their customisations fitted at the factory,
So should you opt for an Ami? As it will do 46 miles on a pound’s worth of electricity, it's cheaper than almost every form of public transport. It also makes more sense than Renault’s Twizy in all but the warmest climates. But this is not a vehicle you’d want – or be able – to use as your only car, especially if you have to venture out of town. That said, if you're prepared to embrace the Ami's limitations, it's a fun little package with a huge personality.