Home GADGETS Driving a Citroen’s small Ami EV is as fun as it looks

Driving a Citroen’s small Ami EV is as fun as it looks

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For years, automakers have been talking about so-called urban mobility solutions, but have you seen it on the street?French car manufacturer Citroen has finally adopted the transformation of its lovely Friend concept to make Actually cute car There are two seats and the top speed is 28 MPH.

According to a quirk of French law, Ami is not technically a car, but “Four-wheeled vehicle,” so that 14-year-old users across the country can drive it. But unlike Renault Tweez Four-wheeled vehicle, it is a fully enclosed vehicle. This means that you or your child can take it to buy groceries or to participate in football training without getting wet by the rainstorm.

With its playful design and simple but functional interior, Ami will scream “fun” no matter how old you are. After subsidies in France, it is about 7,500 US dollars to buy, or 0.65 US dollars per minute rent, which is very cheap. But what is it like to drive in a chaotic city like Paris? To find out, I fastened my seat belt and went for a drive.

Gallery: Citroen Ami Hands-on Gallery | 28 photos


Citroen Ami is available in a variety of flavors, you can buy it at the electronics store Dati And FNAC. Prices range from 6,090 Euros (approximately US$7,385) for the basic Ami to 7,495 Euros ($9,090) for the Ami Vibe (after government electric vehicle subsidies). The latter uses a variety of design options, including options such as custom wheels and hands-free smartphone kits.

In addition to the original Ami, Citroen also recently launched Asian American Cargo Designed for small businesses and last mile delivery. That car has extra storage space and a shelf instead of the passenger seat. With these changes, it can hold up to 14 cubic feet of cargo, weighs slightly more than 300 pounds, and starts at 7,390 euros (8,960 US dollars).

A family might buy an Ami as an urban transport for themselves or their teenagers, while a business might buy one for delivery or as a cool wheel marketing campaign. Another key market is car sharing.Citroen’s parent company PSA has a leasing department called Move freely It has a fleet of more than 500 Amis in Paris.

However, it will not be limited to France, because recently Free2Move make fun of Ami will join its rental fleet in Washington, DC. For this reason, I want to test the Ami rental version of Free2Move instead of the more high-end retail version.

Steve Dent/Engadget

I used the Free2Move app and looked for an Ami near me in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. After finding a place about two subway stations, I went there and found it.Like most rental fleets, it is a basic pink blue model, although Citroen created 20 special editions Match the different neighborhoods of Paris with versatile colors.

The first thing that impressed me was how small and symmetrical it is. The length of the Ami is less than 8 feet (2.4 meters), which means it can be easily installed laterally on most streets and has a turning radius of less than 24 feet (7.2 meters). It weighs only 485 kilograms, or 1,069 pounds.

Another unusual feature of Ami is its matching with the colorful impregnated plastic body panels around the car. The doors are identical to each other, not just mirror images. This is because the driver’s door is hinged at the rear and opens forward, while the passenger door is hinged at the front and opens backward. Therefore, the quarter panel of the vehicle body with the door lock mechanism is also the same.

The same is true around the vehicle, including the front and rear, so the car looks the same whether it is coming or going. All of what Citroen did was to save costs by making as many identical parts as possible.

Ami’s mechanics are also basic. It has a 5.5 kWh battery that can travel about 70 kilometers (43 miles), and an 8-horsepower electric motor drives the front wheels. The top speed is limited to 45 km/h (28 mph), but it feels like it will not be faster anyway. It has small 14-inch wheels and basic suspension to eliminate road bumps.

Citroen Ami Hands-on Gallery

Steve Dent/Engadget

Since Ami can fully charge a 220-volt household power supply in just three hours, it is equipped with a standard EU plug instead of a fancy cable. After charging, the cable can be stuffed into the pocket of the door frame.

The interior of Free2Move Rental Ami is basic, but the features are amazing. It doesn’t even have a door handle-instead, you can use the orange strap to open and close the door. The side windows flip up and out and are your main source of cooling. The windshield is so far away from me that I cannot touch it from the driver’s seat.

With that remote windshield and panoramic roof, Ami feels very spacious considering its small size. Even in the normal passenger version, you can squeeze a lot of cargo in front of the passenger seat or behind two seats. This is perfect for shopping with a suitcase or going to the train station. The driver’s seat moves back and forth without tilting, and the passenger seat does not move at all.

The dashboard, for example, displays speed, charge level, warnings, and nothing more. The only controls are the turn signal, a very noisy front fan, an emergency flashing light and the rear defroster. Ami’s car sharing version lacks some of the privileges in the retail version, such as smartphone holders and Cargo.com. However, it does have a USB charging port.

Using the app, I was able to book Ami, unlock it and start it using a key connected to the vehicle via a cable. Once ready, I can select reverse, neutral or drive from the button control on the left side of the driver’s seat. From there, I can release the mechanical handbrake and push the throttle to go.

Citroen Ami Hands-on Gallery

Steve Dent/Engadget

Using an 8 horsepower motor, the performance is not very good, but it does reach a maximum speed of 28 MPH at a decent speed. In any case, the speed and acceleration are enough to keep you up with the traffic, not the responsibility of safety. Just don’t enter the highway ramp by mistake. The brakes work well, but I hardly use them because simply raising the throttle and using regenerative braking is usually enough to slow down or stop Ami.

The best way I can describe the handling is stable and reliable, the steering is slow but fairly precise. With limited speed and heavy acceleration, you would never expect it to handle like a Formula One car. Riding on the cobblestone streets of Paris is a bit rough and loud, but at least you can clearly hear the sounds of other cars and the environment.

However, it is interesting when maneuvering in traffic. With its tiny size, it can quickly turn around even on narrow streets. Then you pull the car into the hole in the traffic flow (if you dare) and park it in the smallest space. Having said that, you can put any Free2Move Amis in any paid or electric car parking space in Paris, free of charge.

A 5.5-kilowatt-hour battery may not seem like much, but it can last about 70 kilometers or 43 miles on a single charge-enough for housework and commuting in cities like Paris. I drove from the south of Paris to the Seine in the city center, and then came back-twice-without using more than 20% of the battery. Even in slow-moving stop-and-go traffic, the range remains stable. This is due to Ami’s relatively light weight and effective regenerative braking system.

Citroen claims that 14-year-old children can drive Ami in France, but you need to be 18 years old to rent one from Free2Move. Therefore, young teenagers need to own or borrow one. Even if the speed is limited, it is difficult to imagine a 14-year-old child driving an Ami (or other unlicensed car) in Paris, but it is legal to do so. Throughout Europe, it is legal for teenagers of this age to drive Vespa-style scooters in cities, and Ami may be a safer (although less fun) option.

Citroen Ami Hands-on Gallery

Steve Dent/Engadget

So what is my judgment on Ami? You have to give Citroen props to really promote the city traffic, especially the weird and relatively cheap cars like Ami. Considering that its parent company PSA is confident enough to bring this very French car, uh, four-wheeler to the United States, this move seems to be paying off.

However, when you drive a car, it’s easy to see why. It is very suitable for its commuting and delivery tasks, it is very fun to use, and attracts more smiles than almost any car I have driven-even for bored Parisians. It is more practical, but not as interesting as Renault’s Twizy, and the price is only about half of it. Other so-called unlicensed cars, even scooters, may also be more expensive.

In Paris, Ami is a great way to commute, shop for groceries and do other housework. It is more environmentally friendly than most other vehicles and certainly safer than electric scooters.

However, France has unique driving laws that allow such cars and young people to drive them. As for whether it will work in a city like Washington, DC, this is still an open question, but I would love to know once they arrive.

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