Imaginative Citroen advertising may clarion Ami as “Britain’s Cheapest EV!”…except that it is not
Beware of the catchy advertising tagline, warns Iain Robertson, as the UK motor industry piles Tory-like lie-upon-lie into its promotional messages, many of which are in support of the future of road transport…the EVs and BEVs…that are set to populate our roads increasingly over the remaining years of the decade.
Looking all cutesy and almost car-like, the latest Citroen even dares to carry a former Citroen name-badge in its scurrilous attempt to escape with highway robbery. Of course, Citroen has earned a reputation for lightweight plasticity, which means that potential buyers gulled into making a careless slip of the pen, or click of the cursor (in this modern online buying age), could land themselves in a ditch of legally quagmired awkwardness…if the ‘car’ does not drop them there first. Its cutesiness emerges from the Ami’s push-me-pull-you appearance by which its frontal and rear elevations might almost be identical, were it not for the red rear and clear front light lenses, although the asymmetric cabin doors, one front- the other rear-hinged, play the game by other rules. Yet, as suggested, it has a sinister edge, just ask Vicki Butler-Henderson of ‘Fifth Gear’ online infamy, who almost flipped one on a ’roundabout’ at the Millbrook test facility.
Considering that its maximum velocity is a modest 27.9mph (yes, you read it right) and it can take a few seconds to reach it, the precept of speed-related mishaps is not one under normal contemplation. However, let us deal with the mobility elephant in the room, because the sweet little Ami is no motorcar. In fact, it is a quadricycle and a 6kW electric one at that, which can be recharged domestically (the socket and cable are installed in the door jamb) in around three hours, albeit once you have consumed its roughly 44mls range, which means that unless you reside in Skegvegas-by-the-Sea, or less than 20 itchy-bottomed miles away from it, seaside jollities are not exactly on the holiday menu, unless you know somewhere into which to plug it, in which case, around 40mls distant could be your target…just not at full whack. While I think of it, you need a Category AM driver’s licence to do the honours.
Fortunately, Citroen can see the jape and has determined that not one but two variants of Ami should be available, one a two-seat rival to a 28mph speed limited smart fortwo, the other a single-seat light commercial for purveyors in, let’s say, the ‘last minute’ delivery sector. Usefully, its driver’s seat is kerbside in the UK, which saves Citroen the unenviable expense of converting its tiddler to right-hand drive, a practice with which it has always been averse, and makes alighting from and entering the plastique-fantastique cabin a safer affair…and what a cabin, offered in three trim levels, with a choice of three colours (orange, blue, or grey). However, despite wanting to provide a sting in the tail of this story, I am bursting to inform you that the lead-in ‘Ami’ trim is the most affordable at an horrendous £7,695. Okay, so you get a standard digital speedo, LED front and rear lights, a panoramic glass sunroof and an USB charging port. The comprehensive colour packs are £400 a pop.
‘Ami Pop’ trim level combines the orange pack with black trim on the Ami’s ‘front face’, lower front and rear bumpers, and around the rear lights, with a black rear spoiler and orange decals surrounding the door capsules featuring a number ‘2’ design, which is not as unpleasant as it reads. On the other hand, ‘Ami Vibe’ starts with the grey pack, then adds a black finish to the top of the front bumper, front and rear bumper bases, and rear light surrounds, and adds two decorative black roof rails, black wheel arches and ‘Contours’ decals on the doors and front wings. Factory built, they are priced at £8,495 and £8,895 respectively, which should be enough to silence even the most ardent of EVangelists, whom are sure to feel equally ripped-off!
However, for the company carrying out short distance, or last-mile deliveries, the My Ami Cargo is offered in a single specification, priced at £7,995. In place of the passenger seat, My Ami Cargo features a modular storage area that can be configured for a range of business needs. It consists of a modular upper surface (featuring an unique ‘mobile office’ layout), a divider between the driver and cargo areas, a modular cargo floor with two positions and a lidded box in the rear with 260-litres of storage space. Coupled with the interior storage already present on-board, My Ami Cargo offers a total load capacity of (wait for it…) 400-litres.
A fashionable wee tool, the Citroen Ami electric is sure to attract all manner of attention, which will make its presence in city centres as much a draw in advertising terms as its sheer novelty appeal. However, it is not exactly a bargain basement offering, even though Citroen probably feels it is doing its customers a huge electrified favour.