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Geneva show: Citroen boxes on with Ami One

Citroen’s Ami One symmetrical city car foreshadows life in the urban slow lane

Citroen logo20 Feb 2019

CITROEN has shared its vision of urban mobility via a tiny box on wheels that could be used by customers for anything from five minutes to five years, depending on their needs.
 
Called Ami (friend) One, the symmetrical two-seat concept is capable of travelling up to 100km on electricity at a top speed of just 45km/h – faster than the urban crawl in many big cities today.
 
Just 1500mm wide, 1500mm high and 2500mm long – shorter even than the Smart ForTwo and about half the length of a large car – the runabout appears to be a potential parking champion in crowded cities such as Paris if it ever goes into production.
 
Under European law, the “device” (as Citroen describes it) could be driven by anyone over 16, without a driver’s licence. In Australia, no such provision exists, so it could not be driven on public roads under existing rules.
 
Ami One is the first of two concept cars to be developed by Citroen to celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. Ami One will lob at next month’s Geneva motor show, while the second – developed on the theme “ultra comfort” – will appear first at the VivaTech show in Paris in May.
 
Citroen says the concepts are its way of reinventing itself for a changing world.
 
“As the 2CV made freedom of movement broadly accessible, Ami One concept frees up urban mobility for everyone with its unique and popular character advocating a new experience,” it said in a media release accompanying photos and videos of the little beast.
 
It sees the car as an alternative not only for regular vehicles but also scooters, bicycles and public transport.
 
Citroen’s vision is for at least some Ami Ones to hit the streets as ride-sharing vehicles, with access provided by waving a smart phone app over a code in the door handle.
 
The customer then plonks their phone in a cradle in the car, firing up the motor and other functions. Journeys could be around the block or – with a lease or purchase arrangement – up to five years.
 
One of the unique selling points of the Ami One is its symmetrical design, potentially cutting manufacturing costs. The two doors, for example, are identical – the driver’s door is hinged at the rear and the passenger side is hinged at the front.
 
The front and rear mudguards are interchangeable, and the LED head lights and tail lights can be fitted on either side of the vehicle. 
 
Seemingly a rival for Renault’s Twizy and Smart, Ami One has a lot of funky style features that might or might not make it into production, such as canvas door pockets and mesh seats.
 
The car communicates with the driver via a “humanised graphic interface” with stylised eyes that transmit emotion and “establish a special dialogue with the user”. 
 
Because the cabin interior is narrow, the seats can be staggered to provide extra elbow room.
 
The four corners and sides of the car are protected by bump-resistant plastic for parking in Paris where motorists park by feel in impossibly tight spots.
 
Like the classic 2CV, a canvas sliding roof lets the sun shine in.

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