Due to what can only be described as a preternatural desire to elevate the mobility-impaired, car-maker Renault has donated two electric vehicles to the Vatican for the specific use of His Holiness Benedict XVI.
The Popemobile has definitely increased in stature and style since Pope John Paul II started riding around in that little golf buggy of his back in the 90s. The new pair of Renault vehicles are based on the Kangoo Maxi Z.E., measuring 4.6 metres in length and 1.8 metres in width, with a 44kW (60hp) electric motor and a lithium-ion battery which ensures an average NEDC combined-cycle range of 170km.
The vehicles were presented to His Holiness last Wednesday, September 5, by Renault’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn during a visit to the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
“This donation to His Holiness is a means for Renault to reaffirm its strong and durable commitment to sustainable development and respect for the environment,” said Monsieur Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault Group.
Converted with the help of French constructor-coachbuilder Gruau, both vehicles can seat up to four people. The cars are both obviously intended for use by a public figure, as they come with two “particularly comfortable separate seats at the rear,” an opening roof, removable rear side windows, high rear side doors, and electrically folding doors to facilitate getting in and out.