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‘Ami For All’ Provides New Option To Drivers With Disabilities

French automaker Citroën is bringing accessibility to drivers with lower limb disabilities. A new edition of the Ami car makes it easier for those using a wheelchair to enter and exit cars easily. The prototype was revealed at the Autonomic trade fair in Paris. It’s being made in conjunction with French mobility firm PIMAS, which specializes in reduced mobility solutions. 

Citroën, which is owned by Stellantis, is calling its concept “Ami for All.” The company wants to bring electric driving to all people, which is why it worked with PIMAS. 

The car is a scaled-down quadricycle with an increased door opening angle, a board, and straps to transfer the driver from the wheelchair to the seat and vice versa.

Certain mechanical and manual inputs control braking and accelerating. There is also ample storage space for transporting wheelchairs. 

The wheels must be removed and secured with a unique strap to get a wheelchair in the car. The folded chair fits in the passenger seat. You can secure it with a seatbelt. When the driver is inside, they steer with a special knob on the steering wheel. If traveling with a companion, there is a rack for the wheelchair on the back of the Ami.  

Photo Courtesy Stellantis 

A simple lever is pulled to brake, and the lever is pushed forward to accelerate. These new Amis are designed to be as simple as possible to use. However, they will still have fully functioning gas and brake pedals.

“Ami for All is perfectly in line with the Ami philosophy: to offer a practical response to access to mobility for all,” Citroën CEO Thierry Koskas said in a statement.  

The Ami is not a novel electric vehicle (EV). Citroën launched the quadricycle back in 2020. It was marketed as a cleaner and cheaper mode of urban transportation thanks to its stature and electric motor. It stands 1.52 meters tall and 1.39 meters wide. It can navigate narrow corridors and alleyways, all while taking up minimal space for parking. The Ami is emission-free, soundproof, and has a 100% electric drivetrain. 

It’s unlikely that Citroën’s Ami for All project will make it to the States, but it should be introduced in the U.K., Germany, Spain, and other European countries. The Ami is selling well in the U.K., with the car arriving in Britain in the spring of 2022, keeping its left-hand drive. Reportedly, 13,000 people pre-ordered the car when reservations opened in September 2021.

Citroën has a strategic partnership with ubitricity, the EV charging subsidiary of Shell. The charging network, the largest in the U.K., is pretty nifty, harnessing power from street lamps to function as charging stations. 

Drivers can plug their charging cords into the street lamps and safely charge their EVs. It not only saves space but minimizes extra electricity use. That’s ideal for the cramped streets of London or Manchester. 

Photo Courtesy Citroën 

The first 2,000 drivers who purchased an Ami got three months of free charging across 5,500 lamppost charging stations. Drivers have to claim the offer from Shell to qualify. 

Ami’s specifications include 46 miles of range, ideal for short-distance travel but definitely not for a long road trip. The top speed reaches 28 mph; however, that means teens 15 or older can drive it under European law. 

The battery can be fully charged in three hours — you don’t even need a fast charging station. Since the battery is so small, a basic three-prong outlet would suffice. It costs around $8,600 or can be leased for $23/month. 


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