This week, the Vatican scrapped plans for a solar-powered popemobile. As a compromise, the Catholic Church has announced that the Pope will soon be trading in his gas-guzzler for a hybrid popemobile.
The Pope has traveled in a protected vehicle ever since a 1981 sniper assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.
His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, has made a name for himself as the “Green Pope” for his dedication to environmental issues. Benedict has long wished to make his Papacy more environmentally friendly, but plans for an all-electric popemobile were denied by the Vatican for security reasons.
The popemobile is heavily armored and much heavier than a standard vehicle. The extra weight requires a good deal of energy to propel, and official worried that an electric vehicle would not be able to accelerate fast enough in a dangerous situation, putting the Pope’s life at greater risk.
To please both the Pope and his security team, Mercedes has agreed to design a plug-in hybrid for His Holiness.
The new popemobile will be able to travel 16 miles on all-electric mode, and have enough torque to speed the Pope away should an emergency arise.