It sounds like a late April Fools’ joke, but the Pope may be acquiring a pedal-powered vehicle to demonstrate his commitment to sustainability. The carbon-neutral Popemobile was designed by the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) during Pope Benedict’s term as pontiff, and it’s expected to be ready for delivery later this summer. Designed by British inventor Yannick Read, the new Popemobile will have bullet-proof windows, solar panels mounted on its hood, an emergency powertrain boost and an oxygen supply.

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Yannick Read, known for designing the world’s smallest caravan, was urged by ETA to reinvent the Popemobile as an all-green vehicle which would have state-of-the-art security features. Theno-emission tricycle wouldn’t be operated by the Pope himself—one Vatican employee will work the pedals, providing enough force to generate momentum. The vehicle will travel at a cruising speed low enough for His Holiness to be seen by the faithful. If things get hairy, the Popemobile will deploy its electric engine and take the Pope to safety. The powerful 1.5kW electric motor will be able to develop a speed of almost 40mph.

Read’s pedal-powered version of the vehicle will run silently with zero emissions. The $268,000 vehicle will cost half the amount of the Pontiff’s current car which is based onMercedes Benz’s M-Class model.

Via Grist

Images by ETA