The Ami One – to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show – is actually a concept-heavy quadricycle, fitting into the same classification as the Renault Twizy. This means that in theory it could be piloted by teenagers as young as 16 – or 14 in the car’s native France.
The Ami is, the manufacturer says, intended to revolutionise mobility for city dwellers the same way the 2CV did for rural French people when it was introduced in 1948.
Jean-Arthur Madelaine, Citroen’s chief interior designer, said: “We did the Ami One with the brief of making a 2CV for today. When the 2CV came out, everybody in France was rural, so it was a car for the countryside.
“Now young people are not really interested in cars, but they want mobility in cities.”
The Ami – named after both the French word for ‘friend’ and the iconic Ami 6 and Ami 8 models from the brand’s past – is all-electric, with a top speed of 28mph and a range of only 60 miles.
Simplicity is the name of the game. “Many body pieces are not just symmetrical, they are completely identical,” Madelaine told us. “The front and back panels, for example, are the same piece.”
The doors, too, are the same panel flipped over – leaving one to open in a traditional fashion and one to open to the rear. The windows don’t roll down either – instead, they flip open or shut, as the 2CVs’ did. There’s also a manual canvas roof.
The interior trades mainly on simplicity as well. “Our brief was to avoid redundancy of technology,” Madelaine said. “Instead of having lots of displays for speed and infotainment, everything comes from your smartphone.”
Users are expected to lay their phones on a surface just behind the steering wheel, where it will run a bespoke Citroen app and have its display mirrored by a large perspex panel. Through this, all of the car’s functions can be seen and controlled – via steering wheel buttons or voice commands.
The only physical controls are based on a small pod on the steering wheel – a hark back to Citroen’s old ‘satellite’ control pods found on the Visa. The pod contains the drive selector and a Bluetooth speaker.
Storing your settings on your phone will be essential, as Citroen’s expecting a great deal of Ami Ones to be ‘rental’ vehicles. The firm has even suggested ‘ownership’ periods from as little as five minutes – with the car being accessed via a QR code on the door pillar rather than a traditional key.
Will the Ami One make production? Maybe. Citroen was keen to point out that it is just a concept for now, but if it did go on sale – sometime between 2020 and 2025 – it would be a cheap product in the vein of Renault’s Twizy. UK success would likely be more limited, with the 28mph top speed restricting it exclusively to urban use.
The Geneva Motor Show runs from March 7 to 17, with press days on March 5 and 6.