The Popemobile: It’s electric!

Renault must be looking to score some points both on heaven and earth.  Yesterday the French carmaker gave Pope Benedict XVI the keys to an all-electric Popemobile.

They started with a Kangoo Maxi Z.E. van and then partnered with Gruau (a coachbuilder specializing in custom commercial vehicles) to add some holy comfort.  The normal Maxi Z.E. can accommodate five people, but that is reduced in this one as it is, “fitted with two particularly comfortable separate seats in the rear.”    Other custom bits include an opening roof, removable rear side windows, and electrically folding door steps.  While all these are nice items someone might be able to order for themselves, try finding the door-mounted Papal coat of arms on any option list.

At over fifteen feet in length, the 60 hp van may struggle a bit in the hills at Benedict XVI’s summer home in Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome.  The standard Kangoo Maxi Z.E. has a range of about 105 miles, but the extra weight added for the security and comfort features of a Popemobile likely drops the range down to something more useful for holiest of milk runs.

Just to make sure that the Pope’s green motoring isn’t spoiled by a gas-guzzling entourage,  Renault also provided second blue and yellow version of the van for the security team.

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