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Tiny and slow: Citroen revives the spirit of the 2CV with a concept car that can be driven by 16-year-olds

By Paul Connolly

Citroen has unveiled a small and highly individualistic electric concept car that references the historic 2CV model.

The new Citroen Ami One is a two-seater concept that will be officially revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

It’s a tiny little thing, and it’s technically not even a car – confirming to quadricycle regulations, like the Renault Twizy.

This means that in many countries, including the UK, it can be driven by 16-year-olds.

This is because UK law allows 16-year-olds to drive ‘AM-class light quadricycles’ on roads.

A light quadricycle is the only four-wheeled vehicle that you can drive legally on the road in the UK under the age of 17.

Legally speaking, a light quadricycle must weigh less than 350kg (not including batteries). It is also forbidden to have a top speed of more than 28mph.

The two-seater Renault Twizy qualifies (however most young motorists go for much-cheaper mopeds which can also be driven at 16, and are less expensive to insure).

The Ami One – it means friend in French and is based on a line of Citroens including the 2CV Ami launched in 1961. (There was also the Citroen Ami – nicknamed the 3CV – launched in 1961.)

The fact that it’s labelled the Citroen Ami One suggests this is the smallest version of the new Ami, and that bigger versions might follow if the concept car does actually make it into production.

And small it is: the Ami One is 2.5 metres long – so nearly a fifth of a metre shorter than the Smart ForTwo.

Citroen is effectively dubbing the Ami One a modern-day 2CV, based on the principles of freedom of movement than inspired the old 2CV.

Citroen says: “Just as the 2CV made freedom of movement broadly accessible last century, Ami One Concept frees up urban mobility for everyone with its unique and popular character advocating a new experience.”

It weighs 425kg and can reach a top speed of 28mph that keeps it within the law.

The range of the batteries that power it is officially said to be around 60 miles per charge – which rule it out for country living but in for young urban dwellers who do low mileage.

To appeal to this market, Citroen says the new ‘car’ will be 100% connected to the digital world via smartphone.

Unlike normal cars, there is no infotainment screen, and data is projected from the user’s phone via a series of apps, including voice commands.

Given the car’s size, the boot is tiny, and space within the cabin is tight.

The lithium-ion battery, stored flat under the floor, is easily charged with an electric cable.

Plugged into a public station or a Wallbox, a complete charge takes just two hours – an attractive feature should the Ami One concept ever make it into production.

The Ami One Concept can also be plugged into a standard socket at home using an extension cable.

There are no current plans to mass-produce the Ami One, however the concept is a growing indication of where Citroen believes this segment of the car market is going: young urban consumers will want quick-charge, easily-parked, low-maintenance, 100% digital cars controlled by smartphone apps and possibly owned collectively rather than singly.

As Citroen says: “Creating a new form of mobility, and responding to current and future environmental issues, Ami One Concept is fully in step with societal changes in the city.

“Ami One Concept is an all-electric vehicle able to access all areas of the city while respecting the environment and offering low usage costs.”

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