Late last year Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would like to be driven around in a more ecologically sound matter, even by a solar powered Popemobile. Mercedes heard His Holiness, and is building the next-best thing; a hybrid Popemobile.
Maybe if God’s number one guy didn’t need to be carted around in an armored vehicle during parades, a solar-powered Pope carrier might be possible (though still unlikely.) As it is though, His Holiness must be carried in an air-conditioned, bulletproof bubble through crowds of tens of thousands of people. Low-speed parade routes are killers on gas mileage, and His Holiness is striving for a greener Church.
Enter Mercedes, which has been tapped by His Holiness to build a Popemobile for the 21st century. Ze Germans are producing a Popemobile based on the M-Class SUV, which can handle the heavy armor of the Pope’s protective shell. But how do you make an armored SUV fuel efficient? Make it a hybrid. The new Popemobile will have a 60-horsepower electric motor with an all-electric range of 16 miles, and once the fuel runs out a 3.5 liter V6 engine will take over the Holy hauling duties.
There are about a billion Christians in the world, and many of them look to the Pope with reverence. His words, and actions, carry a lot of weight, and I don’t mind having His Holiness on the side of green. After all, the Bible makes it clear that humanity is supposed to be the stewards of the Earth. To that end Pope Benedict has had a 37-acre forest planted, as well as installed solar panels on the roof of some papal structures, helping make the Vatican a carbon-neutral state. There is always more work to be done, but a hybrid Popemobile is another step in the right direction.
Expect to see it in action sometime in 2012.
Source: Inside Line
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.