The PopeMobile Goes Electric

Pope Francis is known for his appearances among the masses in the popemobile, but it seems he will be retiring the old popemobile for an updated EV model. The new EV popemobile was created by the California-based electric car startup Fisker, providing the new popemobile’s rendering with plans to deliver during Q4 2022.  

The new popemobile will based on the Fisker Ocean SUV with some special modifications for Pope Francis that will be running entirely on battery power. Pope Francis supports this project considering the environment and impact of climate change for future generations according to NBC News.  

Fisker developed a relationship with Pope Francis through a mutual friend that arranged the first meeting that ultimately led to the partnership for the new pope mobile. Popes have traditionally traveled in vehicles provided by the Holy See by Mercedes-Benz, first presented to Pope Pius XI in 1930. Later models of the pope mobile transformed to feature a transparent compartment to keep the pope safe during public appearances.  

Fisker isn’t stopping at creating an all-electric popemobile but will also be incorporating sustainable materials. The interior will be replacing leather with sustainable materials made from recycled plastics and bottles reclaimed from the ocean.  

Fisker is facing competition from other EV carmakers, including Toyota. Last year, the Japanese carmaker Toyota gifted the pope a specially customized version of the Mirai fuel-cell vehicles (currently one of three hydrogen-powered vehicles on the market).  

 Despite the grand gesture from Toyota, the popemobile has not experienced extensive use. Fisker and Pope Francis are meeting to discuss the development stages of the new popemobile with expectations of more service than Toyota, who didn’t consult with Pope Francis during development. Fisker is starting to develop this project for future retail models available at the modestly affordable estimated price of $37,499 in the U.S. before applying the current $7,500 in federal tax credits. 

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