French automaker Citroën announced Tuesday that it will debut something called the AMI One concept at the Geneva Motor Show next month. While this particular car show is known for attracting wild concepts and record-melting supercars, the little all-electric two-seater won’t dazzle anyone with its specs: It has a top speed of 28 miles per hour and can only travel about 62 miles on a charge.
The point of the AMI One isn’t that it will be the only car you ever need, or even one you lust after. Rather, it’s supposed to bring the freedom of driving a car to those who might not currently have access. This happens in two ways. One, the car’s low-speed ceiling allows it to be driven in some countries without a driver’s license. Two, it should — theoretically, at least — be more affordable.
The cutesy size and legitimate limitations might put most people off to the idea of something like the AMI One, but China has provided some proof that there’s a market for cars like these. Industry analysts estimate something as many as 1.75 million of these so-called “micro-EVs” were sold in China in 2017, which is double the number of regular electric cars. (And the segment appears to be growing faster, too.)
It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that the AMI One won’t be alone in Geneva. The car will be there alongside Arcfox, a subsidiary of giant Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive that makes tiny EVs. But even Arcfox is going to show off a new crossover, as well as an update to its supercar concept.
The world has seen an influx of new, extremely capable electric cars over the last few years from Tesla, Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, Hyundai, and more. But tiny, short-range EVs are finding their own place in the world, too. They deserve some of the spotlight, too, even if they don’t drop your jaw in the same way as a 1,914-horsepower all-electric hypercar.