By Peter Valdes-Dapena | CNN
French automaker Citroën has unveiled the Ami, a tiny electric car that’s designed from the outset to be as cheap as possible. The car isn’t very fast and it looks a bit like a washing machine, but it only costs €6,000, or the equivalent of about $6,600.
It would be hard to get a good used car at that price, but the two-seat Ami is barely a car. In fact, Citroën refers to it as a “non-conformist mobility object.” It has a top speed of just 45 kilometers an hour, roughly equal to 28 miles per hour. It’s powered by a 6 kilowatt, or 8 horsepower, electric motor. For that reason, though, the Ami can be driven by kids as young as 14 in France, or 16 in many other European countries, without a license.
Under the laws of these countries, the Ami qualifies as a voiture sans permis (literally “car without license”), or quadricycle, a category of small and slow vehicle that, for purposes of regulation, is treated like a four-wheeled scooter.
In some ways, the Ami is reminiscent of Citroën’s iconic 2CV. Like the earlier Ford Model T, the 2CV, produced from the late 1940s through the ’80s, was an example of innovation in pursuit of accessibility. It was a cheap car designed to be driven over rough — or nonexistent — roads in European countrysides and to be repaired quickly and easily when needed.
The new electric Ami follows a similar minimalist philosophy.
The Ami is