Electric Benedict: the Green Pope Gets a White, Plug-in Renault

Tomorrow’s Sunday, which means that many of you will be headed to church in order to commune with, establish, or re-affirm your faith. For those of you headed off to (what my Irish-Catholic father would call) “proper Church”, you’ll no doubt be familiar with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. What you may not be familiar with are Benedict’s environmental concerns, leading many people to refer to Benedict as “the green pope“. Helping the Pope further promote that green message last week, Nissan/Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn personally delivered a fresh-and-shiny electric Renault Pope-mobile!

As with many past Popemobiles, this one features heavily armored doors, bulletproof glass, and a self-contained, sealed air environment in case of chemical attacks. Other Pope-specific design solutions include an opening roof hatch, removable rear side windows, hinged rear side doors, and electrically folding door steps to facilitate getting in and out of the thing. Why the Pope needs any of these things is a matter for another ‘blog, but he’ll be protecting your breathing air while he’s protecting himself – that’s my point.

In discussing Nissan’s donation, Ghosn said that the “donation to His Holiness is a means for Renault to reaffirm its strong and durable commitment to sustainable development and respect for the environment.” Renault, you’ll recall, is the driving OEM behind EV initiatives like “a free city-car with gas-guzzling purchase” and the multi-billion dollar Project Better Place initiative, which now has battery-swap stations operational in several countries.

Here’s hoping the Pope’s embracement (I make up words now) of electric cars does more for EVs than his predecessor’s armored Lancia Thema did for Lancia!

Source: Treehugger.


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.