The Pope-mobile goes electric

Last updated 16:00 06/09/2012
Pope Standard
Reuters
GREEN POPE: The Kangoo electric car was presented to the Vatican by the global boss of the Nissan-Renault, Carlos Ghosn.

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Pope Benedict XVI was presented with his first electric car this week, a Renault Kangoo passenger van to be used "to view the gardens of his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo", the Washington Post reports.

The 85-year-old has been dubbed the "green Pope" because of his efforts to draw awareness to the environment.

He has highlighted the need to preserve "God's creation" on foreign trips and in annual peace messages.

Since Pope Benedict XVI was elected, the Vatican has installed solar panels on its main auditorium and offsets its carbon dioxide emissions by contributing to reforestation projects, the newspaper reports.

The Renault runabout follows the first ever hybrid Pope-mobile, delivered by Mercedes-Benz in June 2011.

The Kangoo electric car was presented to the Vatican by the global boss of the Nissan-Renault, Carlos Ghosn.

Later, according to overseas reports, the Pope used his Renault Kangoo electric car to "travel from the helipad at Castel Gandolfo through the gardens back to his palazzo".

Although the Renault Kangoo electric car does have a papal seal on its doors, it is not bulletproof because it is used only on the secure grounds at Castel Gandolfo.

The Pope will continue to use armoured Mercedes-Benz vehicles for public outings; the German car maker has supplied the Vatican since the 1930s.

However, Pope-mobiles (vehicles with a bulletproof glasshouse platform attached to the rear) have been supplied by various makers since 1978, including a Range Rover, a number of Fiat Pandas and one based on a Polish-made truck.

Earlier this year, Italian automaker NWG donated an electric car to the Vatican, but it was for aides to use.

-Washington Post

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