Dressed in plastic, the AMI is a charming little two-seater electric car with a refrigerator profile, which a 14-year-old adolescent is allowed to push up to its maximum speed of 45 km / h. A car without a license, therefore. Although its manufacturer is reluctant to call it as such: for Citroën, the AMI is an “object of mobility” which aspires to prove that electric mobility on four wheels is accessible to all. His creed? Reason more than passion; saving space and material before speed and autonomy. A reasoning that defends itself.
Count at least 6,900 euros for the cheapest Citroën AMI, or 2,099 euros less than cars without a Microcar Dué Initial license and Aixam Minauto Access. It is also 3,100 euros less than the most accessible of the Renault Twizy two-seaters (battery included). For those who do not want to become permanently infatuated, Citroën also offers formulas on demand: car sharing via Free2Move (26 cents per minute), or long-term rental from 19.99 euros per month over 48 months, after a contribution of 3,544 euros (excluding ecological bonus of 900 euros). Seduced?
200 Citroën AMI sold in 8 days, against 250,000 Tesla Model 3 in 36 hours
Citroën said that two hundred of them had ordered eight days after the official marketing date for the AMI, May 11. The car, sorry! The mobility object is only available for now on its manufacturer's website: thereafter, real-life Citroën agents will be able to register your order, as will sellers at FNAC and Darty stores. Chic and innovative.
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At Citroën, satisfaction is the order of the day. For Arnaud Belloni, Marketing and Communication Director of the manufacturer, “this start on the wheel caps reveals the relevance of the bold choices of Citroën”. Despite this, some unbelievers can not help but smile and gloss over French miserability by thinking of the explosion of orders recorded by Tesla for its Model 3: not less than 250,000 in 36 hours. We are far from the two hundred Citroën AMI sold in eight days.
Oh ! Of course, the comparison is unfair. The playground of the frail Citroën is infinitely less vast than that of the American sedan. Nevertheless we can ask the question of who between Tesla and Citroën is having the right end: to turn the page of the combustion engine as quickly as possible, a manufacturer must prioritize on the rational mini car or on a car ten times more expensive and faster? Extensive debate.
Not everyone needs 600 km of range
The Englishman James Dyson has just revealed the characteristics of the electric car he dreamed of throwing across the path of the Tesla Model X SUV. Its large seven-seat station wagon with two ultra powerful engines (0 to 100 km / h in 4 , 8 seconds), 5 meters long and 6 tonnes heavy, would have been able to cover 960 kilometers between two charges. His price ? No less than 170,000 euros, if it had been marketed. Very high-end therefore, despite a ratio between price and autonomy more advantageous than what even the champion Tesla offers.
By stubbornly aiming for twice the range of the best Tesla car to strike a chord, James Dyson got caught up. Couldn't he have been content with less spectacular performances and a half-cheaper battery? This would have enabled him to target a category of buyers who were certainly less fortunate but more provided. This is the whole question of fair balance between cost price and sales price; between announced and effective autonomy. In this case, each builder sees noon at his door but none escapes the harsh economic realities.
The electric Mini Cooper and Fiat 500 play the chic ticket, not the shock price
Latest illustration, the all-new Fiat 500 which is not the inexpensive small electric car that some people hoped for. Endowed with an autonomy greater than that of the Mini Cooper SE, it appears even more expensive. And not only for coquetry or to inflate its margins. Not only does the Italian have a higher capacity battery (42 kWh which guarantees greater autonomy, announced at 320 km WLTP), but it is able to charge it faster. A double privilege that pays for itself: no less than 37,900 euros, or three hundred euros more (excluding subsidies) than the Mini Cooper SE (234 km and 32.6 kWh). The Honda e does not blow the code either: 35,060 euros for 220 km and 35.5 kWh. As for the Volkswagen e-Up! given for 260 km and 36.8 kWh, it still appears at 23,400 euros (bonus not deducted).
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Part of the price of the electric Fiat 500 is explained by the on-board charger, which tolerates a power of 85 kW. "Enough to recover 80% of the charge rate in just 35 minutes; or 50 km of autonomy in just five minutes," promises Olivier François, the boss of Fiat. "This distance is equivalent to the daily journeys of the average European city-dweller." In addition, the Fiat 500 Prima is delivered automatically with a 7.4 kW WallBox charger to be installed at home. This power allows the Mini Cooper SE to fill up in four hours, against "just over six hours" for the Fiat 500. The cable with Type 3 plug allows connection to the public terminals of 11 kW.
Rest assured, the 37,900 euros requested by Fiat constitute only an introductory price, for the best equipped of the new Fiat 500s. Thereafter, the range should widen from below, with prices between 20,000 euros and 30,000 euros for more standard versions. However, the real cheap electric Fiat will not be the 500 but the next Panda, which will leave the choice between several battery capacities.
To lower their CO2, manufacturers must sell more electricity – so cut prices
Because the number of kilowatt hours on board is definitely the sinews of war. The price of lithium-ion batteries has certainly fallen by 87% in nine years according to Bloomberg, but the electric car remains expensive. It costs Peugeot and Renault around 7,000 euros to slip an electrical energy reserve of only 50 to 52 kWh in the floor of their respective e-208 and ZOE. An additional cost which inevitably affects the sale price to the customer: not less than 32,000 euros for Peugeot and Renault.
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However, manufacturers must sell more electric cars, and quickly. “The great battle for 2020-2025 will be that of reducing costs for make electric vehicles affordable", hammered Carlos Tavares at the start of March during a telephone roundtable with the French press. Remember that each car sold emitting less than 50 g / km of CO2 (electric and plug-in hybrids, therefore) counts double in the count which will determine January 2021 if a manufacturer has met its CO2 target, or if it has to pay a fine to Brussels. This is why manufacturers are increasing the number of small electric car projects, in the hope of finding the right balance between autonomy and selling price.
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Apart from the aforementioned electric Fiat Panda, we know that the Volkswagen Group is working on a electric at twenty thousand euros by 2023. French manufacturers should draw the first, with the Renault Twingo Z.E. from autumn 2020 (180 km WLTP and 22 kWh; price not communicated), then a Dacia Spring with similar performance but a price around 15,000 euros.
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This Dacia Spring will have everything great: room for four adults and enough “juice” to face the highway. Nothing to do with the tiny Citroën AMI which, remember, does not exceed 45 km / h and only offers two seats. In addition, its autonomy is limited to 70 kilometers between two charges. Strictly speaking, it is not a car, but a heavy quadricycle, accessible without a license. This represents the extreme opposite of the market targeted by James Dyson and by Elon Musk, in its early days.
It is nonetheless true that autonomy constitutes a brake on purchasing: it comes after the price criterion but before that of the charging time in the results of the opinion survey carried out in 2019 for the account from the Cetelem Automobile Observatory. Problem, part of the progress made in recent months has been erased by the entry into force of new WLTP certification standards, which make official values of autonomy less flattering than the time of NEDC standards.