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Mercedes to build greener Popemobile

The Local · 21 Jun 2011, 06:13

Published: 21 Jun 2011 06:13 GMT+02:00

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The weekly business paper Wirtschaftswoche predicted that it should be ready for Benedict's visit to his native Germany in September, though a Vatican spokesman played down that prospect.

According to the report, the new Popemobile will be based on the four wheel drive M Class Mercedes with a hybrid electric-petrol motor.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery will allow it to drive 30 kilometres (16 miles) without any polluting emissions.

The pope would not be allowed to use a purely electric-driven car as the Popemobile must have the capacity to take off swiftly in case of emergency, the paper said.

A Mercedes-Benz spokesman said the group could give no details on private clients "for reasons of confidentiality."

Mercedes has provided the special cars to successive popes since the 1980s, the special high-sized, reinforced glass design allowing for maximum viewing with high levels of security.

Last December, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the governorate of Vatican City State, suggested Pope Benedict was "prepared to use an electric Popemobile," as long as it was efficient and reliable.

Benedict XVI, sometimes labelled "the green pope" in the Italian press, has emphasised the defence of "God's works" and therefore the need to protect the environment.

Story continues below…

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP Saturday that while the project for new car was under development it was not yet finalized and the vehicle would not be ready before the end of the year.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:16 June 21, 2011 by William Thirteen
no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
08:34 June 21, 2011 by harcourt
How very inventive !! William13 not Mercedes.
10:35 June 21, 2011 by moistvelvet
If only the Catholic church put more emphasis on protecting children!
10:45 June 21, 2011 by dcgi
@moistvelvet: why do you think they lock the Pope in a re-enforced glass case for? ^_^
13:22 June 21, 2011 by MiriamSPia
I like the idea of making it more environmentally efficient. Dear Degi, the reason for the thick glass is actually because during my life time a Pope was shot. He was hit because the vehicle he was riding in did not have bullet proof glass encasement. I feel it is very sad for it be necessary. Often it seems to be a waste, but it is actually like that because something really happened to a Pope. I am old enough to remember that even though I am not a Catholic. I certainly do not wish him ill just because i am not a Catholic.
13:45 June 21, 2011 by moistvelvet
@MiriamSPia, hmm thanks for the egg sucking lesson, if what you say is true then that would explain why the President Obama is often surrounded by armoured glass when speaking in public, like th epoint it must have been because a President has been shot before at some point... and there was me thinking that America was just being racist, c'mon all because he is black doesn't mean he's going to shoot someone.

(BTW, It's a JOKE!!)
14:33 June 21, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
"The pope would not be allowed to use a purely electric-driven car as the Popemobile must have the capacity to take off swiftly in case of emergency, the paper said."

Yes, let the church preach on how we should "welcome the kingdom of heaven", but then worries the Pope might be assassinated. As I have said before, how many poor, homeless, and hungry people could be fed, clothed, or housed for the cost of this vehicle. But he is a man of the people - as long as the people can't actually touch him.
16:32 June 21, 2011 by harcourt
XFYRCHIEF: I too am amused by your point at the beginning of your 2nd para. If the major religions of the world hadn't put in the clause that suicide is a sin, then people would be raining down from tall buildings in their rush to get to heaven , if that's not a contradiction in terms !!
20:00 June 21, 2011 by MrBowlocks
I quite like the white one! ;-)
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