It has a steering wheel, but Citroen’s Ami One concept isn’t exactly driving as we know it. It’s the smartphone-centric product of Citroen’s latest gaze into its crystal ball.
Built primarily as electric last-mile transport that very obviously beats the sweaty cycling and crowded public transport options, it’s accessible through a suite of portals that let you buy time with it, from five minutes to five years.
The mostly symmetrical design of the mere 2.5-metre pod includes a rear-hinged ‘suicide’ driver’s door with a conventional passenger door. It means just one set of parts need to be manufactured. There’s a small steering wheel and a basic boot for your briefcase, gym bag or even a couple of weekend cases for that short escape to Rome.
It’s no powerhouse in the drivetrain department, with a top speed of just 28mph and a fairly meagre range of 62 miles. That should still allow the Ami One concept to hum around a city on numerous shuttle runs before needing to park for some electro-juice, and Citroen envisages a whole fleet of them in operation at once.
Interestingly, Citroen claims this 425kg ‘car’ could be driven by 16-year-olds with no driving licence. There’s no mention of automation, either, so the concept really would be under the control of unqualified people potentially just feet away from pedestrians. Hmmm.
It projects its user interface through the driver’s smartphone. You step in and place it in a wireless charging bay, from where its apps and myriad connected systems are projected onto a panel in the driver’s field of vision like a head-up display. You’ll be able to use, for example, Google Maps or Waze for navigation, plus loads more.
There’s a five-inch screen that acts as the instrument cluster, not that there’s a lot of vehicle data to report back. Speed is about your lot, but there are indicator lights on there as well. Weirdly, the screen will show “stylised eyes” with the aim of conveying things like warnings. Call us old-fashioned, but we still believe drivers should be looking at road hazards, not eyes on a screen.
Large windows mean the interior should feel more spacious than it is. Upholstery inspired by hard-wearing outdoor furniture trims the two seats. The driver’s moves on rails but the passenger’s is fixed to save costs. Within one of the seats is a neat ‘safety box’ with a hi-vis yellow vest and warning triangle. They’d be stolen inside the first week, we reckon.
Citroen has also planned an entire line of Ami One-related lifestyle accessories, presumably hoping that urbanites will fall head-over-heels in love with the cute little pod and want to buy a matching Bluetooth speaker, keyring, charging cable or a 1:43 scale model of the car. We have to admit the Litogami-made origami solar-powered miniature car is pretty cool, though.