As the leader of the Catholic Church and ‘father’ to the planet’s 1 billion Catholics, the Pope must always set a good example. Pope Benedict XVI has already been dubbed “the green pope” due to his support of environmental causes, but now he is doing more for the planet by introducing the Vatican’s first green Popemobile – an M-Class hybrid.
After the Batmobile, the Popemobile is probably the most famous ‘mobile’ in the world. Whenever the Pope goes abroad, he is often seen in the bulletproof case meeting and greeting the millions of people that flock to see him. However, even the Pope creates a carbon footprint, so His Holiness is looking to change that.
The new green Popemobile will be powered by lithium-ion batteries. Due to the vehicle’s weight (thanks to the armor), the Popemobile will not have a great range and will only be capable of running for approximately 20 miles. Originally, there was talk that the new green Popemobile would be solar-powered, but a hybrid was reportedly chosen due to its “ability to power out of potentially threatening situations.” (Should the Pope be threatened on a cloudy day, things might not turn out so well…)
The new Popemobile will be delivered late this year and will join the papal fleet of six or seven heavily armored Mercedes-Benz cars and utility vehicles.
During his six years as Pope, Bendiect has (so far) promoted the idea of sustainability and resource conservation. The Vatican is currently carbon-neutral and is powered by photovoltaic cells that have been installed on papal rooftops.
Interestingly, Mercedes has been building Popemobiles for over 80 years with the first model being a 1930 Mercedes-Benz Nurburg 460 Pullman limousine that served Pope Pius XI.
Images from Daimler AG