If you are a ‘Pope Watcher’ then no doubt you have noticed his fancy new automobile. What you might not realize is his new ‘Pope Mobile’ is an all-electric Renault. Specifically, Pope Benedict XVI now has two new electric cars, both of them based on the Kangoo Maxi Z.E, an electric version of the Kangoo delivery van currently in use across Europe.
Pope Benedict has made no secret of his interest in renewable energy. Not so long ago he had solar panels installed on the roof of the Vatican. He has repeatedly said (through Vatican spokespeople) that he was eager to add electric cars to his line of armored vehicles.
And Renault has delivered in style.
The first of the Pope’s new vehicles is painted in a saintly shade of white, with the Papal coat of arms emblazoned across the doors. The car will be used when the Pope is traveling at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
The second will be used by the Corps of Gendarmerie Corps in Vatican City, the Pope’s own personal police force, and is painted blue with a yellow and white stripe down the side. Each has 60 horsepower, and a range of just over 100 miles.
The only downside to the new electric ‘Popemobile’ is the limited range and speed caused by the additional weight of the body armor required for vehicles in which His Holiness rides. Proponents of renewable energy and electric vehicle in particular see this as a boon for their industry. For millions of people (Catholics) around the world and endorsement from the Pope is a feather in anyone’s cap.