The Mercedes-Benz M-Class “Popemobile” may be a grand-looking (and very safe) vehcile, but its gas mileage is a bit lacking. So what’s an eco-minded Pope to do? Renault answered that question by giving his holiness a customized, all-electric Renault Kangoo van.
Thanks to his interest in ecological matters, Pope Benedict XVI is known in some circles as the “green pope” – so it shouldn’t be surprising that Renault built an EV for the Pontiff. Based on the Kangoo Maxi Z.E. electric van, the Electro-Popemobile uses a 60 hp electric motor and a lithium battery pack. All told His Holiness can travel about 105 miles on a charge before he’ll have to stop and plug in. As expected, Renault affixed the Papal coat of arms on the doors, and the Kango wears a pure white coat of paint. Inside, French coachbuilder Gruau installed two luxurious bucket seats in the back, along with a big sunroof. To make the deal even sweeter, Renault also sent the Vatican another Kangoo EV, a blue and white model intended for the Pope’s personal security staff.
That’s good news, but there is a catch: the Kangoo won’t replace the Mercedes-based Popemobile outright. As you can see in the photos, the Kangoo lacks the M-Class-based car’s glass encasement, and Renault already admits the Kangoo will serve as the Pope’s runabout when he’s at his summer residence. Still, we’re sure Pope Benedict XVI will appreciate the notion of using no fuel to get around from time to time – especially considering that the Pope’s summer spot, Castel Gandolfo, Italy, is only five square miles.
Both vehicles were presented to the Pope by another internationally renowned man (although one with fewer followers), Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.