The Holy e
This week, Pope Benedict XVI got to strut his environmental cred in a brand-new electric vehicle. Donated by Nissan-Renault Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn, the customized Renault Kangoo van with a 44-kilowatt motor and lithium-ion battery can travel 105 miles between charges.
Unlike the familiar bulletproof Mercedes “popemobile” used for trips outside the Vatican, the Renault will be used on the 136 acre Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence southeast of Rome. Mercedes is reportedly designing a plug-in hybrid version of the popemobile after the Vatican decided that the pope’s dream of a solar-powered ride was unfeasible. The Vatican has already installed photovoltaic cells on its main auditorium and participates in a reforestation effort to offset its carbon emissions.
Image: Renault Italie.
Reed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”