Citroën has launched a tiny little electric car, the Ami, and started the model off by sprinkling 20 cars around Paris covered in art.
The Ami is a 100% electric two-seater and will be included in the Free2Move carsharing fleet in Paris. The 20 launch vehicles are designed to represent the 20 unique districts of Paris. (Something which reminds me of the wonderful Paris, je t’aime.)
The special launch is being called the “Ami ❤️ Paris” campaign. More than 100 Ami electric cars will soon be in the Free2Move fleet, but only these initial 20 will have the special designs.
“The designs came from Parisians in all walks of life, including David Twose, an artist based in Montmartre, a youth hostel worker in Belleville and a boatman who brings tourists to Paris via the Javel district.”
This car will never make it to the United States — it’s “too small” for American tastes and Citroën doesn’t sell cars in the States anyway — but it is like a dream vehicle when driving in a major European city, where almost nothing is more luxurious than being able to easily park in small (or tiny) spots and slide down alleyways or narrow streets with tons of on-street parking without stress.
The Ami has a few unique features (some good, some not so good) that result in a truly industry-expanding offering.
First of all, you don’t even need a license to drive one. You just have to be 16 years old or older. Apparently, it is seen more as a bike or scooter than a car.
Secondly, it has a tiny battery — just 5.5 kWh of energy storage capacity — which means “a range of up to 43 miles,” which is 69 km. This is not a car to take to Amsterdam, which I presume is part of the reason they’re letting people without a license drive it.
The third thing: As you might have guessed by now, the small package and tiny battery mean the Ami is super cheap. If you purchase the car outright, the cost is €7300 (before a €900 ecological bonus but also before any delivery cost). Citroën says that there have been “over 1,000 sales examples” so far. If you buy the car, though, note that you can’t choose from these artsy options.
- Without a subscription, rental costs €0.39 per minute, €18 for the first hour (then €9 per hour for any additional hours) and €60 per day.
- With a no contract subscription of €9.90 per month, rental costs €0.26 per minute, €12 for the first hour (then €6 per hour for any additional hours) and €40 per day.
I lived car-free for 15 years (honestly, it’s the way to live if you can), and some of those years were in places where I used carsharing. The thing carsharing is excellent for is providing a car once in a while when one can be useful. Used in that way, carsharing is super cheap compared to owning your own vehicle. However, using such a service every day can tally up a big bill.
If someone was to use Ami 25 days a month for an hour a day, the monthly total would come to €309.90 with a subscription (€12*25 plus the €9.90 monthly subscription fee) or €450 without a subscription (€18*25). That’s not cheap. Using the former option for 2 years would cost more than buying the Ami outright, which doesn’t seem like a sensible way to go. But if you’re just planning to use a car for 4 hours a month, the monthly cost would be €57.90 with a subscription (€12*4 plus the €9.90 monthly subscription fee) or €72 without a subscription (€18*4). You’d have to use the Ami for more than 10 and a half years for a full purchase of the car to cost less than a monthly subscription.
It just comes down to individual needs and preferences. If a car is only useful once in a while, carsharing looks like a great option. (On the other hand, will the short range cut it for those occasional needs?)
The low cost is appealing. The coolest thing about the service, though, may just be the artistic side of it. And that goes beyond the paint jobs.
“To mark the launch of the 20 unique Ami – 100% ëlectric designs, Citroën has created a series of short films for social media to tell the stories of the Parisians who participated in the development of the designs.”
Want to watch those shorts? Head over here: amiaimeparis.fr
Images courtesy of Citroën