With no clutch or gears to worry about and a top speed of 28mph (45km/h), there’s little say about the Ami’s performance. Weighing just 485kg (with a 60kg battery) and offering all of its 6kW motor’s torque from go, it takes mere seconds to reach top speed, via a high pitch whine which grows in intensity to the crescendo. To select drive, neutral or reverse you hit one of three little D, N or R buttons to the side of the driver’s seat.
I was quick to find a hill to see if I could eek any more from the Ami, and was pleased to find a nominal 1km/h more with gravity on my side. The top speed doesn’t really feel sustainable, however, as it feels a little like you’re wringing the Ami’s metaphorical neck. So A-roads are off-limit then, what else?
Well, it’s the slower, busier city streets where the Ami excels – unsurprisingly. The lack of clutch makes stop-start traffic a breeze, and its light steering lends easy manoeuvrability. Similarly, the brakes are basic but sharp – perfect for when the unsuspecting Parisian wanders out in front of the silent vehicle. There is a horn, and a surprisingly loud one at that, but perhaps that’s because the hollow box in which you’re sat effectively acts as an amplifier.
Thanks to its short chassis, the Ami boasts a turning circle of 7.2metres, which is two turns of the large steering wheel. While tight, it’s not quite enough to do a full 360 on a suburban road. Despite its compact footprint and otherwise usual height, the Ami isn’t top heavy at all, chiefly because the 5.5kWh Lithium-ion battery is housed flat under the floor. Even my best efforts into corners weren’t enough to unsettle the Ami, which remained firmly planted on all four wheels, with a surprisingly minimal amount of body roll. Even with spirited testing conditions the range seemed fairly accurate.