Citroen has released a few videos of the Ami One concept ahead of its debut at the 2019 Geneva motor show. The car was conceived under previous design director Alexandre Malval (now head of Mercedes-Benz’s new advanced design studio in Nice, France) and has been kicking around the PSA studios for a while but never revealed to the public.
The concept is an urban mobility vehicle with symmetrical parts, which enable greater ease of manufacture and, in the case of the identical doors on the right and left side, easier ingress and egress into ultra-compact 2500mm-long vehicle that stands 1500mm high.
The Ami One concept’s playful, unpretentious design is very much aligned with what we’ve come to expect from the Citroen brand, which is now under the direction of Pierre LeClercq. Though tiny by conventional car standards, it has a big personality and a presence atypical of shared vehicle concepts, let alone usual Voiture Sans Permis (cars that can be driven without a license) vehicles.
The Ami One concept not only shares part of its name with the historic Ami 6, but also its pure shapes and graphic approach. Besides the rear-hinged driver and conventionally positioned passenger side doors, the concept also features identical bumpers (partly concealed on the front and open on the rear to display the registration plate); identical fenders on both the front and rear; identical panels on the right and left; and reversible DRLs and rear lights on the left and right. The lighting is a modern approach to Citroën’s design identity – the new light signature is more refined and high-tech, and has been inspired by the Citroen Cxperienceconcept car.
The Ami One Concept is based on a digital ecosystem, offering an ‘on demand’ customer experience at every step in the process — online presentation, testdrive request, service configuration, reservation and delivery. Customers can opt to use the vehicle from five minutes/hours, five days, five months or five years – whichever period of use is most suited to their needs. The digital experience continues with a special mobile app for managing the vehicle and journeys.
Inside, the cabin takes Citroen’s comfort theme to another level, with a very simple product design approach created through theuse of a limited number of materials. Ample glazing bathes the cabin in naturallight and enhances the feeling of space within.
The Ami One concept designers created an asymmetrical layout for the driver’s seat (on rails) and the passenger seat (fixed), which creates extra shoulder room and ease of movement for both occupants, and the seat cushions and headrests are finished in deep blue fabric inspired byeasy-maintenance outdoor furniture accentuated by orange-colored elastic.
The concept’s new architecture has also enabled designers to create a space that exudes perceived quality. The tactile quality of the upper part of the blue door panels and the soft PVC straps fitted to the armrest evoke the world of travel and allude to those originally introduced on C4 Cactus. The lower part of the door panels is home to an elastic-stretched canvas creating a storage space with a ‘beach’ vibe.
Replacing the conventional gauge cluster is a new ‘drive-pod’, a simple box-like area that houses the user’s mobile device. This enabled the Citroën team to create an original storage space on the passenger side for a cabin bag and a handbag. At the rear, a platform accessed via the folding driver’s seat can be used for occasional luggage and is equipped with a ‘safety box’ complete with a fluorescent jacket and warning triangle. All the paneling features two-tone paint with a finely flecked and durable appearance, while the various storage areas are finished in blue.
Exclusive luggage has been created to accompany the concept, including a backpack designed to fit in the storage space in front of the passenger. There is also a specially designed shopping basket and a cylinder-shaped travel bag. These three fashion accessories – developed in partnership with Damien Béal – echo the materials and color themes used throughout the cabin. In creating the Ami One concept, the artist adapted his techniques and know-how to materials that he generally does not work with, while giving them the same traditional finish as leather.
Citroen’s design team also created a series of related products that fit within the Ami One concept theme, including a windbreaker developed in partnership with the French brand Back to Alaska; a 5W Bluetooth portable speaker; a keyring with the same shape and material as the door handles; a charging cable compatible with iOS and Android phones; a silicone smartphone case developed in partnership with the Bone brand; an origami solar miniature car created in partnership with the French company Litogami; and a metal 1:43 scale miniature model for collectors.
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