Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Whether you’d be happy driving such a small car along a busy highway depends largely on your tolerance for risk, though as a local runaround it could be quite nice. But one thing’s for sure: No matter where you drove it, Citroën’s tiny Ami One electric vehicle would turn heads, prompt double-takes, and probably result in people pointing at you and laughing. In a friendly way, of course.

Although it’s a concept, the super-cute Ami One isn’t just a graphic sitting on a computer display. The vehicle has actually been built and will make its debut at next month’s Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.

The French automaker describes the 2.5-meter-long Ami One not as a car, but as an “object,” one that it says can comfortably replace bikes and scooters, as well as buses and trains. In that case, we’re persuaded to call it a “vehicle.”

Oh yes, and you’d have to drive it yourself, at least until Citroën considers adding some self-driving smarts.

The car’s ultra-modern interior is accessed by scanning a code by the door using a smartphone. Once inside, you’ll find a 5-inch display that serves as an instrument cluster, charging facilities for your gadgets, and a Bluetooth speaker so you can listen to some slow tunes during your slow drive.

Oh, haven’t we mentioned what you’ll get out of the Ami One if you floor it? 28 mph (45 kmh). No, you won’t be going anywhere fast in this particular car, so you’d have to buy a bigger motor if you have a need for speed. Its range of 62 miles (100 km) means you won’t be going anywhere far either, though it looks like a fun drive for short trips around a neighborhood or city.

Unique sound signature

Interestingly, to warn pedestrians of the electric car’s approach, the Ami One uses a unique sound signature featuring “original and organic music blending male and female voices” that change according to the car’s speed. It sounds fascinating, but there’s a chance it might leave some pedestrians wondering if it’s the local choir coming up behind them rather than a car.

The French automaker envisions the Ami One being used for app-based carsharing schemes involving short rentals, similar to services that already exist. It suggests renting it for “five minutes, five hours, five days, five months, or five years,” though presumably other time spans would be possible, too. It’s even knocked together a video to show you how it might work:

Citroën says that if the Ami One ever came to market, adults over 16 years of age wouldn’t need a license to drive it. While differing traffic laws across countries may mean this is not always the case, we get how the company is trying to position the car as an urban mobility solution for an entire community.

It’s clear that Citroën has put a lot of thought into the Ami One, and the design comes at a time when all vehicle manufacturers are exploring ideas in search of opportunities beyond their traditional business models.

General Motors, for example, has just launched its first-ever ebikes, while other automaker efforts include battery-related businesses and partnerships with tech companies developing self-driving cars or other services.


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