WHAT on God’s earth is this?
A street cleaner? An Outspan cube? A school project? An emoji? An Uber for clowns? A French mobilite scootaire?
Actually, I quite like it.
It’s called Ami One and you’ll be able to buy one or hire one like a Boris Bike in the next two years.
The idea is simple.
Car ownership is changing. So rather than sit back and let other firms make hay with hourly rentals and subscription-based deals, Citroen has decided to provide those services itself.
But it has to be low cost and it has to be quirky.
So Ami uses the fewest parts possible, almost a third less than a normal car. The doors are identical, meaning one hinges frontward and one rearward. The wheel arches are the same. Ditto the lights.
There’s a QR code to enter. The seats are 3D-printed. Your smartphone is your satnav and music player.
It is ridiculously easy to drive
The roof is a simple flip-back canvas. The drop-down side windows are plastic.
It’s very French, very Citroen, very cool, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Here’s some quick stats.
Ami is just 2.5 metres long, battery-powered and rear-drive, so it has a tiny eight-metre turning circle. It weighs 425kg (which is very light) and has a 62-mile range. Top speed is 28mph.
If you’d rather buy than rent, it’ll cost around £9,000.
In truth, Ami is not actually a car, it’s a quadricycle like the Renault Twizy, so it jinks around car crash safety rules.
How safe is it? Better than a scooter but not a car.
That said, it is ridiculously easy to drive, visibility is tremendous and there’s room for two people, shopping and as well as your designer dog.
Now I should perhaps explain that Ami is the first of two “vision cars” revealed by Citroen to celebrate its centenary.
I’ll stick my neck out here and say the other one — the blue lunar capsule thingy — is pure fantasy land.
It’s called 19_19 Concept and it’s an electric, self-driving lounge with a virtual assistant and comical 30in wheels.
Travel up to 497 miles between charges
Every seat is different with the front passenger reclining on a chaise longue.
The 100kWh battery pack means it could travel up to 497 miles between charges. I say could because it’s going no further than a French museum.
Ami, on the other hand, is coming to a city near you.
KEY FACTS: CITROEN AMI ONE
Price: Hourly rental or £9,000 to buy (est)
Range: 62 miles
Top speed: 28mph
KEY FACTS: CITROEN 19_19 CONCEPT
Price: £1 million +
Range: 497 miles
Power: 456bhp, 800Nm
0-62mph: 5 secs
Top speed: 124mph
ASK ALFIE: USED CAR Q&A
Q) I’VE been having a battle with Ford, following a letter in your column (April 28), about vulnerable key fob security.
I have sent numerous emails but my Ford dealer has not responded.
It seems Ford is not interested or bothered; the only security I can get is a good steering lock and key fob security pouch (and one for the spare).
Ford’s attitude stinks and shows no concern for its customers – I might look elsewhere when I change my car.
A) Trev, there’s nothing I can do to help you out on this one, sadly, other than printing this and hoping that Ford UK sees the error of its ways now your struggles are in public view.
I said it last time and I said it again about Ford charging to resolve the vulnerable key fob security issue: it should be free of charge, not costing punters their hard-earned.
Ford UK – sort it out.
Q) WHAT is a 2006 BMW 520d SE, with 122,000 miles and a FBMWSH, worth these days?
Pete Robertson Shrewsbury
A) Lovely motor, there, but you’ve not got a lot of value left in it. E60 520d SEs with that sort of mileage on them tend to be worth about £2,500-£3,000 nowadays.
Q) WHEN did Lane Departure Warning first appear on cars? I’m looking to upgrade my old car to something newer with this system and I was wondering when it became widespread?
Alice Loban, Oxford
A) In Europe, Citroen was the first company to provide a Lane Departure Warning System in 2005, so it’s been around for 14 years.
However, not every car has it as standard, even today – it can be an optional extra. Aim at anything post-2012, though, and you’ve got a very good chance it’ll have LDW fitted.