Reports say Daimler building new green popemobile
German-born Pope Benedict XVI is known for his green credentials and so it comes as no surprise that automotive giant Mercedes-Benz from his homeland has been given the task of building a frugal, petrol-electric hybrid vehicle for the pontiff.
The new popemobile is based on the M series offroader and finished in pearly white, just like all of its predecessors. Reports say the vehicle features powerful batteries which would enable it to drive emission-free at slow speeds past crowds for up to 30 kilometres. A petrol engine kicks in at higher speed.
It is not clear whether the vehicle will be ready in time for the pope’s upcoming visit to Germany in September.
The idea for an all-electric popemobile was scrapped for security reasons since the car could not be relied on to serve as an escape vehicle if the pope were to come under attack.
Mercedes-Benz has refused to comment officially on the project. According to a company source quoted by Germany’s ‘Wirtschaftswoche’ financial gazette, the armour-plated car is being developed under a veil of secrecy ‘on behalf of customers in the Vatican.’ [more]