Stellantis appears interested in testing America’s appetite for extremely small and highly European EVs. The formerly PSA-owned rental company Free2Move recently posted the silhouette of the Citroën Ami accompanied by text hinting that the vehicle would be imported for use in Washington, D.C.
Launched in 1961, the Ami (French for “friend”) started life as a petite four-door, front-wheel-drive economy car that came in numerous body styles. While it has the honor of being one of the first vehicles in history to adopt rectangular headlamps was, and widely known as the “premium” alternative to the triumph of minimalism that was the Citroën 2CV, it was by no means a swift or lavish automobile. Its ability to reach 60 mph was highly dependent upon the incline of the road and how much cargo it was hauling.
The new Ami abandons the pint-sized 602 cc of the original (1015 cc in the Ami Super) for a 6-kW electric motor and only has two doors. But they remain highly similar in their general concepts, with simplicity as the key.
Like the original, the Ami EV was designed to be affordable transportation with everything else being an afterthought. Its status as a quadricycle (rather than a fully-fledged automobile) also opens it up to be driven in France without a license by people born before 1988 and those age 14 (or older) that have taken the initial steps toward getting one with the proper accreditations.
Is it likely to be a smash hit here in the states? We doubt it.
The 5.5-kWh battery keeps roundtrips below 50 miles and it’s not legally allowed to exceed 28 mph. That really limits where the model can go and will undoubtedly relegate it to urban landscapes, which is also usually the case in France. While purchasable in Europe, many Ami’s become rental vehicles for city dwellers who need more cargo space than a bicycle and backpack can provide. In fact, Free2Move already uses them for its car-sharing service across the pond.
Wildly unsuited for our market, the Ami remains a charming, basic automobile. Your author is actually excited about the prospect of driving one of these karts since it’s incredibly rare to see something quite this small or simple inside North America. But nobody will be buying them.