An auto executive explains why the company's $7,000 tiny electric vehicle that 14-year-olds can drive is the future of urban transit

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ami 11 Citroen’s electric mobility quadricycle Ami.

  • Citroen has created a “non-conformist” electric urban mobility quadricycle.
  • The Ami doesn’t require a driver’s license to operate and can subsequently be driven by 14-year-olds.
  • The mini mobility unit starts at around $7,059 including VAT and is available for purchase in several European countries.
  • Potential customers can also rent the Ami for a monthly subscription fee, or a minute-by-minute use payment.
  • According to Anne Laliron, the head of future products at Citroen, the Ami is a “clever solution to bring freedom of movement in the city to as many people as possible.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

French automaker Citroen has created a “non-conformist” electric urban mobility unit that can be driven by 14-year-olds.

The Ami first started as an award-winning concept under a nearly identical name: the Ami One Concept, which was unveiled in 2019. A year later, Citroen debuted the official commercial iteration of the Ami online, and the quadricycle is now available for purchase online, at the automaker’s dealerships, and at several Fnac and Darty retail stores in Europe.

According to a report by The Guardian, Citroen sold 500 units in the first night. 

Several aspects of the concept Ami One also made its way into the Ami, including the symmetrical exterior design that’s reflected in the semi-openable windows and the direction that the two doors open towards, to name a few examples.

According to Laliron, Citroen didn’t want to copy the look of a car. Instead, it aimed to create a new four-wheeler unit with a “strong and friendly design.”

“It looks like Ami is coming from a cartoon, and I can tell you that people in Paris smile when they see it in the street,” Anne Laliron, head of future products at Citroёn, told Business Insider in an email interview.

Driving isn’t just for older teenagers or adults anymore.

Citroen Ami Citroen’s electric mobility quadricycle Ami.

Despite its four-wheeled vehicle-like appearance, Ami isn’t a car: technically, it’s a quadricycle, a European designation for tiny cars that are limited in weight, speed, and power.

This means the two-seater electric mobility unit doesn’t require a driver’s license to operate, making it accessible to people as young as 14-years-old in France.

The idea of drivers even younger than 16-years-old may be frightening to some people, but there are multiple reasons for this young entry age, which is made possible and safe with Ami’s steel structure that makes it more secure than a bicycle or a moped, according to Laliron

“Ami will provide more autonomy and freedom to teenagers,” Laliron wrote. “Parents will be happy not to have to bring their teenagers to school or any activity.”

“Teenagers with their Ami can go to school and pick up their friends even in winter,” Laliron continued. “It’s also better in terms of safety compared to public transport in some areas and time slots.”

Ami — which was designed to bridge the gap between public transit and micro-mobility units like bicycles and scooters —  serves as a “clever solution” to urban mobility, and may represent the future of transportation in both cities and countryside towns, according to Laliron.

“People are facing many constraints: urban traffic congestion, pressure on purchasing power, the need for an ecological transition,” Laliron wrote. “At Citroen, we wanted to provide a new urban mobility concept helping our customers in their day to day trips.”

A subscription payment model and electric vehicles are the future.

Citroen Ami Citroen’s electric mobility quadricycle Ami.

In line with recent transit trends, the Ami is fully electric with a 5.5-kilowatt-hour battery that allows the unit to achieve up to about 27.96 miles-per-hour with a range of about 46.6 miles.

And unlike shiny new electric cars, the Ami doesn’t require a supercharger for a quick battery boost. Instead, its lithium-ion battery can be charged within three hours using a typical 220-volt outlet.

The little mobility unit starts at around $7,059 including VAT. And like other companies that have had to pivot amid the pandemic, Citroen has made the ordering process of the quadricycle available online, which means potential customers don’t have to go in-store to purchase the Ami.

But for those who prefer payment flexibility, the cube on wheels can also be rented for around $23.53 per month with an initial around $3,112 down payment under Citroen’s subscription-like plan, which is a 48-month “long-term rental” package.

According to Laliron, the long-term rental plan provides a “peace of mind” for the customers who prefer a monthly payment that’s similar to that of a subway card or a subscription to a media service like Netflix or Spotify.

But for the ultra non-commital, or for those who want even more flexibility and freedom, the Ami can also be rented through Free2Move for about $0.31 a minute.

The initial customers who have purchased an Ami have so far been wealthy families who have paid cash for the unit with the intention of using it as an alternative vehicle for the family, Laliron wrote. Surprisingly, 80% of Ami purchasers have never owned a Citroen or electric vehicle before.

“This is how Citroën considers mobility, Laliron wrote. “Ami is a clever answer for customers and business-to-business on micro-mobility, especially regarding how fast cities are changing these days and even more considering the coronavirus crisis.”

Bastion Balance Seoul, Korea.