Why Citroen Ami can be cheaper than catching the bus

Would you buy such a small car?Would you buy such a small car?
Would you buy such a small car?
This is not a car for the faint-hearted. Or those who wish to whizz along at anything over 28mph.

Nor is it suitable for anyone planning a venture of more than 46 miles, or carrying anything in the boot, for no boot exists.

If you want to haul more than one passenger, you consider other options. And any passenger you do carry will have to be quite literally a close friend.

This is Citroën Ami. And you may have already established it is not a car for everyone. It is compact, restricted in range and speed and sure to attract attention. Shy folk should try something else.

The Ami cabinThe Ami cabin
The Ami cabin

So, while I don’t expect a flurry of orders for the tiny Ami, it may suit some people down to the ground. As a family second car, for example, it will be useful for short commutes. It can be yours for less than £5 a week, which is probably less than a bus pass.

And even with escalating electricity prices, it is very cheap to run.

I enjoyed receiving this car for a week but, to be honest, I was happy to hand it back. But then my motoring tends to be longer drives and stints on motorways.

This car isn’t allowed on motorways, which is a blessed relief. Can you imagine jousting with juggernauts in this little tin can?

Actually, technically it isn’t a car, it’s a quadricycle or a four-wheeled scooter. In some countries 14-year-olds can drive them.

It is nimble to a point (30mph) but it can’t cope easily with hilly West Yorkshire. I gambled on taking it up Thurstonland Bank Road on the hilly outskirts of Huddersfield on a visit to the Rose and Crown.

I took my friend Andrew for emergency pushing power. Neither of us are lightweights but it made it up the hill quite comfortably, though speed fell to about 9mph at one point.

This trek isn’t recommended. Hills are difficult, especially steep ones like this, but as a car on the reasonably flat, it’s OK.

So, what exactly is Ami? Described as “electric mobility solution”, Ami emits zero emissions in use and has a 5.5kWh battery that recharges in just three hours.

With a range of 46 miles and a top speed of 28mph, Ami is 100 per cent electric is said to be “a modern solution that delivers on Citroën’s promise to provide affordable and clean mobility solutions for all”.

Ami arrived in the UK following what Citroën claims is “huge public demand, with over 14,000 hand-raisers and 2,000 early reservists”.

It is available in the UK exclusively online via the new Ami showroom which features a 360 degree visualiser, a digital brochure and a quick and easy process for customers to book test drives and place their order.

The purchase process takes place entirely online and is handled by what the company terms a dedicated Ami Expert Team before vehicles are handed over to customers.

To celebrate the launch, Citroën has partnered with charging provider Ubitricity, a member of the Shell Group, to make owning and using it more accessible to those who do not have off-street parking. As part of Citroën’s ‘Power To The People’ philosophy – aiming to make electrification accessible by offering every kind of electric for all kinds of people – the first 2,000 UK customers will receive three months of free charging across Ubitricity’s network of more than lamppost chargers.

Meanwhile, Citroen UK wants to make the smash-hit Ami Buggy available to British buyers.

The off-road-inspired version of the quirky Ami electric quadricycle was put on sale in France earlier this year, and all 50 units sold out in under 18 minutes.

Now Citroen UK is interested in adding the Buggy model to its Ami range – but first, it has to win over bosses in Citroën France.

“I would say [there is an urge to bring Ami Buggy to the UK] in small volumes,” Citroëen UK managing director Eurig Druce said.

“I always have a smile on my face when I drive Ami, and Ami Buggy goes to that extra level to the extent that if we did manage to bring it to the UK it would be in my garage for sure.”

The Buggy features a Khaki colour scheme and 14-inch gold wheels, along with a removable soft-top roof that’s reminiscent of the classic Citroen 2CV.

If given the green light, a limited run of the Buggy could be made available in the UK next summer.

Online UK order books for the standard Ami have opened with prices kicking off at £7,695, while PCP finance agreements start at £19.99 a month.

The Ami is powered by a 5.5kWh battery pack that gives a claimed 46-mile electric range. The top speed is limited to 28mph and the Ami only comes in left-hand drive.

So, the short answer to a simple question. Do I want one? No thanks. But if ever I find myself with a short commute, thin friends and a thick skin, then it might just do the job. Like all cars, if you use it for the purpose for which it was intended, you might just love it.

Citroen Ami

Price: From £7,695. Citroen has now announced finance deal offering the model from just £19.99 per month over 24 months, and a £2,369.45 deposit. At the end of the two-year deal, if a customer wishes to keep their Ami, they’ll have to pay an optional final payment of £5,594

Motor: A 5.5kWh electric which can recharge in three hours and offer a range of 46 miles

Performance: Top speed 28mph.