The new Citroen 2CV? French company reveals tiny electric car
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The 2CV is arguably Citroen's most iconic model ever.
Manufactured from 1948, it offered cash-strapped families in the car maker's native France affordable motoring following the Second World War and became a roaring success with production spanning decades.
Now Citroen says has brought its most recognisable vehicle into the 21st Century with the unveiling of the Ami One concept - a dinky and cheap electric car that's slower than the original 2CV and could, in theory, be driven on the road by 16 year olds.
When car manufacturers release concept vehicles these days they tend to be electric powered, have outrageous design and crazy top speeds.
Citroen's Ami One ticks just two of those boxes, as the top speed of the tiny city vehicle is just 28mph - that's 12mph slower than the most sluggish of early-generation 2CVs from the late 1940s.
However, it's been designed that way for a reason.
That's because the concept isn't a car - it's classified as a 'light quadricycle', like theRenault Twizy, which is why 16 year olds can legally use it.
This category is for vehicles that are ultra lightweight and have a limited top speed of just 28mph.
Any young person with a provisional licence can use a certified light quadricycle on the road in the UK and across the EU.
That said, few have forked out the cash for these few-and-far-between featherweight vehicles and instead choose to wait a year to pass their test to drive a conventional car capable of higher speeds.
The Ami One - which translates to Friend One - will be shown for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show next month and might tempt young drivers and anyone living in the city to think again.
Citroen suggests it would be the smallest car they would ever create, measuring in at 2.5 metres in length - that's shorter than a Smart ForTwo, though marginally longer than the Twizy.
Still, it should be a doddle to park in the most congested parts of Paris or London.
Power comes from a single electric motor linked to a lithium-ion battery, which is stored flat under the floor and charged with an electric cable.
Plugged into a public station or a home-installed wall box, a complete charge takes two hours and offers 62 miles of driving range with the battery capacity starting at 100 per cent.
Unfortunately, the weight of the powertrain might prevent it from being eligible as a light quadricycle in the UK, as the total vehicle mass is 425kg - 75kg over the restriction required for use by 16 year olds in Britain.
However, in France, where the rules are less strict and passing the driving test costs in excess of £3,000 on average, 14 year olds can legally drive it on the road.
No price has been suggested by Citroen, but there are plenty of cost-saving measures incorporated that should make it relatively affordable.
For instance, the doors for both sides of the car are manufactured identically, meaning one hinges so the door opens forwards and the other backwards.
The door locks - which are QR codes you scan with a phone - are concealed in either the cloth exterior door-hand mounts or the wing-mirror stalks, depending which door you're getting in.
It even features a canvas roof that flips back, just like the post-war 2CVs.
Inside, the design is as minimalist, cheap and easy to clean as possible - making it the ideal vehicle for car-share schemes in big cities.
For instance, there's no instrument cluster. Drivers download an app onto their smartphone, drop it into a panel behind the steering wheel and it projects everything onto the screen in front of you.
It doesn't have a boot either. That's because drivers in the city don't use them all that much, Citroen says.
The seats, which are 3D printed, are very basic and the use of hard plastics and a flat floor means - like a train or passenger aircraft - the vehicle can be swept and wiped down quickly.
Citroen even outlines the different rental and ownership periods that might be available - anything from five minute hire to five-year leasing.
While only a concept for now, bosses at the French car maker said a version of the Ami One could be on the market in the next 48 months.
- Daily Mail