D.C. drivers will soon be sharing this tiny Citroën

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Citroën

The most revolutionary Citroën for decades is being tested on the streets of the U.S. capital and residents will soon be able to use it to zip around the city as part of a car-share scheme.

Actually, the little electric Ami isn’t really a car at all. In France it’s known classed as a “voiture électrique sans permis,” which means you don’t even need a license to drive one, and anyone over the age of 14 can take the wheel. Europe, eh?

In the U.S.A. the Ami falls under the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle class due to its diminutive stature and 28-mph top speed, which is provided by a 6-kW motor. The 5.5-kWh battery is good for 44 miles on a full charge so this is not a machine for state-to-state road trips.

Instead, five Amis will become part of car-sharing firm Free2Go’s fleet, first on a test basis and then, if they prove popular, the cute Citroëns could be rolled out to other cities, including Portland, Oregon, where Free2Go also operates.

“In its commitment to promote sustainable and efficient mobility, Free2Move will be testing five ultra-compact, low-speed Citroën Ami 100% electric mobility solutions in Washington D.C.,” said a Free2Go spokesperson. “Members of the Free2Move car-sharing service will receive the opportunity to test Ami and provide feedback on its usability, drivability and applicability for future use in car-sharing fleets in the U.S.”

So what do D.C. drivers have in store? For a start there’s the lovable and simple, boxy, push-me-pull-you styling which has come about through ingenious cost saving. The front and rear body panels are identical, as are the doors which have opposing hinges. Inside is a sea of plastic (that hopefully won’t ultimately end up in the sea) which has been designed to be as hard-wearing as your average metro-bus interior. You won’t find any infotainment, but there’s a slot for your smartphone and a surprising amount of storage space.

Hagerty contributor Gavin Green described the Ami as “a hoot to drive.” Having spent a day darting around London he added, “There is no 0–60 mph time, for the Ami can’t do 60. It can’t even do half that. But it gets along quickly enough, and the 28-mph top speed is fast enough for nearly all urban driving. I scooted around London, smiling more than ever before while driving in the capital. Many people grinned and waved. They weren’t sure what it was. But they didn’t care. The Ami makes everyone feel good. It’s a long time since we’ve been able to say that about a new car.”

Looks like D.C. drivers will soon have something to smile about as well.

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