Over the weekend, we discussed the Free2Move carsharing program owned by Stellantis and its expansion in the U.S. market. While that information was being announced, a post on the company’s U.S. Twitter and LinkedIn accounts has a lot of people talking about the future of the Citroën brand in the American marketplace.
While Free2Move has had operations in the United States since 2018 with its carsharing program in the Washington D.C. area, the newest social media post the silhouette of the recently launched Citroën Ami in front of the American flag. The picture has the text “New! From France with Love”, and features the subtitle of “Something big is coming to Washington DC…”.
Something big is coming to Washington DC… pic.twitter.com/OO9jljfYH5
— Free2Move USA (@Free2MoveUSA) April 28, 2021
For those who aren’t familiar with the vehicle, the Citroën Ami is an electric-powered two-passenger quadricycle built for business city centers. Citroën designed the vehicle to address urban mobility, environmental concerns, and fuel consumption. The car is currently available through the Free2Move carsharing program in several countries or for purchase from a Citroën dealer for €6,000 (or about $7,265 USD).
Ami, which means “friend” in French, features an asymmetrical body, as the front and rear of the vehicle have the same profile. Not only are the front and rear the same shape, but the doors even swing the opposite of one another, meaning that Ami’s doors have one specific door design making it cheaper for replacement cost and to manufacture.
Inside, the Ami features a minimalist interior. The driver and passenger seats feature very little cushioning over their plastic shells. The driver seat features manual adjustment for forward and backward movement, however, the passenger seat is fixed. The side windows fold out halfway just like the iconic Citroën 2CVs of the past. There are even small review exterior-mounted mirrors, that would make an early 1960s car proud.
The very basic instrument panel (I/P) features colored storage bins built on top, a cellphone holder, and only three buttons located next to the steering wheel. Those buttons control the hazards, the defroster, and a fan. Located behind the steering wheel is a very tiny digital display that shows you the basic functions of the vehicle.
Even though the Ami only weighs 485 kg (or about 1,069 lbs) with its 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, housed flat under the floor, don’t expect lightning performance like most electric vehicles on the market. The Ami only has a 6.5 kW electric motor that operates at 48-volts driving its front wheels, which lets the Ami travel up to a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph). This means the Ami can be driven in certain countries like France, by drivers 14-years of age.
The Ami has a range of 70 kilometers (or about 43.5 miles) on a charge. Speaking of charging, there is an onboard electric cable located on the passenger side of the vehicle that can charge the vehicle to 100% in about 3 hours using a conventional 220-volt outlet.
The post has led many to think, that Free2Move will offer the Ami through its carsharing program in the Washington D.C. market. While the Ami would be one of the most basic ways of transportation for Free2Move customers to move around the capital, this means it would have to be labeled as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV).
A NEV is a special category in which battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) that have a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h) and a maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 3,000 lbs. (1,400 kg) can operate legally on roadways with posted limits of up to 35 mph (56 km/h) depending on the state. The problem is, it would restrict Ami’s top speed even lower from 28 mph (45 km/h). NEVs fall under the U.S. Department of Transportation classification of “low-speed vehicles” (LSVs).
As of the writing of this article, Free2Move has yet to release any statement about the company expanding their operations in the Washington D.C. area or if they would offer the Ami in part of their carsharing program in the United States. We reached out to Free2Move U.S. management for comment but didn’t receive a response.
What do you think of the Citroën Ami? Do you think it would be a good platform for urban carsharing in the United States? Leave your comment below or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.