Citroen Ami Charging Guide
Why is the Ami different to other EVs?
Over the years, our EV Charging Guide has provided advice to tens of thousands of new UK EV owners. We decided to create a specific Citroen Ami guide, as the advice is so different.
As a newly emerging cult classic, the first thing to appreciate is that the Ami isn't actually a car. Yes it has four wheels and looks like a car, but legally, it is classed as a quadricycle. Weighing just 458kg, 2.41m long and 1.39m wide, the Ami can amazingly still accommodate two passengers.
The 48v lithium-ion traction battery powers a 6kW motor, with a separate 12v battery for auxillary items. In the UK, the Ami is limited to 28mph, with a maximum range on a single full charge of 47 miles. The maximum range is affected by a variety of factors including the outside temperature, speed, driving style, load carried, incline and road surface.
If the charge level falls below a low level or the battery (not outside) temperature is <5°C or >45°C, the Ami's protection mode is automatically activated to protect the traction battery. The turtle warning light will illuminate, together with one beep. When in protection mode, the power available to the motor is limited and the top speed is significantly reduced. Ami owners have also reported that performance is reduced in other temperature/load conditions, but exact details are unclear.
How do I charge the Ami?
The traction battery stores the energy needed to operate the electric motor and the electrical items within the cabin. It is discharged during use and must be charged regularly. The battery can be charged at any point; there is no need to wait for it to fall to its reserve level. Citroen recommend that the battery is fully charged at least once a month.
Most other EVs are charged using a special EV connector (known as a type 2 for new cars in the UK) which is fitted on the outside of their bodywork:
- Slow charging is provided using a separate charging unit known as a 'granny charger'. This is plugged into the car's EV connector to charge it from a 13A domestic socket.
- Faster charging is available by using an EV charging cable or tethered charging lead, to connect it to a dedicated charging point.
Charging the Ami is completely different, as it is not fitted with the usual EV connector and does not need a separate granny charger. The Ami instead has a built in cable, which is stored in a recess in the passenger door.
The cable is 3m long and fitted with a 2 pin CEE7/7 European plug. Adaptors are then connected to the cable to charge the Ami from either a domestic 13A socket or a type 2 charging point. All of our charging leads and adaptors are available on our dedicated Ami page.
Unlike most EVs, faster charging is not achieved using a type 2 charger, as the charge rate of the Ami is limited to 8 Amps irrespective of the charging method used. This rate is less than the 10 Amps drawn by most other EV chargers, reducing the risk of issues.
UK 13A socket
Ami's sold in the UK are supplied with a 2 pin European plug, which can be a little confusing. The plug is often incorrectly referred to as a 'Schuko' plug. It is actually a CEE7/7, which is the most common plug used across Europe, as it fits two types of sockets.
If facing the plug pins, the left is the live and the right the neutral. It has two means of connecting the earth, which is the protective conductor. Two metal strips connect to the earth clips on the side of a German Schuko socket (left picture below), whilst the hole connects to the earth pin which protrudes from a French socket (right).
The Ami is not supplied with an adaptor to enable it to be charged from a UK 13A domestic socket.
Heavy Duty 13A Adaptor
Our Ami compatible adaptor uses heavy duty components and tough rubber cable. The French socket is IP44 rated, which means that it can used in the rain without additional protection. Unlike other adaptors which fit directly to the plug, our adaptor fits in an outside socket with the lid closed, to maintain the weatherproof rating.
Heavy Duty 13A Extension Lead
If the 3m Ami cable is not long enough to reach the socket, we provide a range of compatible cables from 2m to 25m. The cable both extends the Ami lead and converts it to a UK plug.
Citroen recommend that the socket is protected by a 30mA residual current device (RCD). An RCD is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you come into contact with a live wire or current. Our range of extension leads are available with a built in RCD - see our guide Do I need an RCD? for further information.
If the cable needs to be put through a letterbox or other small opening, a small diameter letterbox connector can be added to the lead.
Heavy Duty 16A Campsite and Marina Adaptor
230v 16A IEC 60309 blue commando sockets are commonly found at campsites and marinas. The CEE 16A adaptor enables the Ami to be connected directly to a 16A socket.
Avoid Travel Type Adaptors
Unfortunately a wide range of sub-standard unsafe travel type adaptors continue to be sold on major online marketplaces, with a range of dangerous issues:
- UK 13A plugs are the only type in the world which contain a fuse. With dangerous un-fused adaptors, the only protection is the circuit breaker in the consumer unit - which is commonly 32A. In the case of a fault the appliance may overheat before the circuit breaker trips.
- Unsheathed pins, increasing the risk of electrocution, particularly for children whose small fingers may be able to touch the live pin when the plug is only partially inserted.
- Non-shuttered sockets, enabling a child to insert a metal object into the live receptacle and receive an electric shock.
- Cannot safely manage the maximum current (power draw) that may occur from the rating of the socket they are recommended to be used with.
- Often do not connect the vital earth pin.
Type 2 EV charger
The Ami can be charged at any home or public charging point which has a type 2 (right) charging socket. The type 2 connector has 7 pins and was adopted as the EU standard for EVs in 2014. It is therefore the most common EV connector in the UK.
The Ami can only be connected to chargers which have a type 2 socket. It cannot be used with chargers which have a tethered lead (a connector on the end of a cable).
Unlike most other EVs which use a special type 2 to type 2 charging lead, the Ami is connected using the standard charging cable fitted to the vehicle. An adaptor is supplied which enables the European CEE7/7 2 pin plug to be connected to a type 2 socket. The adaptor is IP44 rated (splash proof for use outside).
Normal EVs will automatically communicate with the charger to tell it to charge. However, the Ami's adaptor requires the use of two switches to manually send messages. Use the following procedure:
- Turn switches A and B on the adaptor to the off position.
- Plug the Ami's European plug into the end of the adaptor.
- Plug the adaptor into a type 2 charging socket.
- Turn switch A ON to tell the charging station that the car is connected. Where the charger features a locking mechanism, it will lock the connector in place.
- Immediately turn switch B ON to tell the charging station to start charging.
- To release the cable when charging is complete turn OFF switch B, followed by switch A.
Some charging stations do not require this procedure to be followed; they simply start charging when the adapter is connected with both switches in the on position.
The adaptor has a built-in a temperature sensor, which signals to the charging station to disconnect power if the output European plug becomes too warm. The unit will continue to provide power as soon as the temperature falls below the limit.
If the 3m Ami cable is not long enough to reach the adaptor, we provide a range of extension cables which connect between the Ami's European plug and the type 2 adaptor. Note that this is different to our UK extension lead, as it has a European plug.
Use the following procedure:
- Park the Ami safely and turn off the ignition.
- The parking (hand) brake must be applied for charging to occur.
- Open the passenger door.
- Pull the charging cable fully out of the recess.
- Push the cable into the black protection clip (shown in pic below).
- Pass through the guide hole in the door frame and then into the handle recess.
- Connect the plug to either a UK 13A socket (top) or a type 2 EV charging socket (bottom) using the appropriate adaptor.
- Check that the charging cable is not stretched. Use an Ami compatible extension lead if required.
- When the charging cable is connected, the instrument panel will light up. There will be dashes for approximately 3 minutes, before the remaining charging time is displayed. The 8 bars within the battery symbol increase to show how charged the battery is.
- The charging process can be interrupted at any time.
- When the charge is completed, the instrument panel switches off.
- Unplug the charging cable and place back in the storage compartment.
- Note that the Ami cannot be started while the charging cable is connected.
Vehicles manufactured before 23/11/2020 can be charged at temperatures between 0°C and +50°C. From this date, charging is possible between -5°C and +50°C.
The best option is to use one of our adaptors or extension leads to connect the Ami's charging plug to a standard UK socket. We sell single or double weatherproof sockets which are ideal for charging EVs.
At first, universal sockets can seem a tempting option, allowing the connection of the Ami's 2 pin plug and UK 13A plugs. They are a dangerous concept, which must not be used in the UK. A number of organisations and technical reports highlight the long list of safety issues, including:
- They do not comply with British Standards and cannot be installed under the IET Wiring Regulations.
- The most common way of wiring sockets in the UK is the 32A ring circuit, with the much lower rated fuse in the UK plug protecting the appliance. European plugs do not have fuses- so if installed directly on a ring circuit, the Ami would be protected at 32A instead of the required 16A. If a fault were to occur, the Ami and charging cable would be at risk of overheating long before the circuit tripped.
- They dangerously do not connect the earth contacts on European plugs.
- When a European plug is partially inserted, a small finger can often touch the live pin; proper European sockets are recessed to prevent this.
- The outlets are often not shuttered, posing a risk of electric shock.
Whilst installing a European socket would remove the need to use an adaptor, there are a number of complex issues to consider. If installed incorrectly, for example directly to a standard UK 32A socket ring circuit, they would pose a serious hazard. Schuko sockets cannot be installed in the UK as they are not polarised (the plug can be inserted either way around).
Regulations Applying to Dedicated EV Charging Sockets
Section 722 Electrical Vehicle Charging Installations of the IET Wiring Regulations details a number of additional requirements for socket outlets which are installed specifically to supply an EV. Additional requirements include:
- Dedicated final circuit with over-current protection (e.g. you can't use or spur off an existing ring circuit).
- Protection from a Type B RCD.
- PEN protection device/detailed earthing requirements for certain types of supply (far too complicated to explain here!)
Extension Lead Safety
It is down to the EV user to consider the manufacturers guidance, the safety of the supply and any other risks, before deciding whether to use an extension lead to change an EV.
All of our extension leads are carefully constructed in our UK workshop from the highest quality and most robust cable and connectors available. We only use H07RN-F rubber cable, which is specifically manufactured for harsh environments. Is safety and performance under extreme conditions simply cannot be beaten:
- Very good mechanical resistance to impact and abrasion, making it ideal for harsh environments on-site.
- Resistant to accidental exposure to a wide range of chemicals, including most oils and greases.
- Whist we would never recommend that you submerse an extension lead, it’s good to know that just in case it ends up running through a puddle, it’s actually submersible to a depth of 100m.
- Extremely flexible, bending to 6 times its overall diameter.
- Retains its flexibility and performance over a wide temperature range from -25 to 60°C.
Think of a cable like a water pipe. If you want high pressure at the end of your 10m garden, you’re not going to achieve it if you use a hosepipe the size of a drinking straw! The longer the distance, the larger diameter you need to sustain the same flow. This principle is the same for electrical cables. We only use 1.5mmsq cable, which is the maximum permissible diameter which can be terminated in 13A plug.
It is important that you consider how safe the supply may be before plugging in your charger.
- Domestic electrical installations can deteriorate with use and age. It is therefore important that a periodic inspection is carried out every 10 years for an owner-occupied home and every five years for rented properties or HMOs.
- As sockets age the contacts can loosen, meaning that the contact between the socket and plug pins is not as firm as it should be, which may increase the risk of overheating. Carefully check the socket for signs of damage, such as brown marks around the receptacles or cracks.
- We recommend checking that the plug fuse clips in any 13A plug remain tight annually, or if the plug ever feels warm, using these instructions.
- We would always recommend that the supply is checked using a plug in socket tester. Whilst the unit does not provide the same level of testing or assurance provided by a periodic inspection, it does at least provide a simple check of the supply in order to identify basic problems. The unit simply plugs in, and a row of lights illuminate to confirm that the supply is safe to use e.g. there is an earth connection and the live/neutral are the correct way around.
- Section 722 Electrical Vehicle Charging Installations of the IET Wiring Regulations details a number of additional requirements for socket outlets which are installed specifically to supply an EV.