Having already established a reputation as the Pope who takes the bus, Pope Francis will take another step towards cementing his image as the people’s pontiff when he takes delivery of the first ever pedal-powered Popemobile.
The entirely carbon-neutral, pedal-powered Popemobile was originally commissioned by the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) after the previous pontiff, Pope Benedict, expressed his desire for a green, all-electric vehicle.
It is expected that the armour-plated pedal-powered limousine – the first of its kind in the world – will be ready for delivery later this summer.
With a price tag of £175,000, the pedal-powered Popemobile may cost only half the amount of the Pontiff’s current car, but it boasts just as impressive a specification. And in contrast to the current 5-litre V8 petrol-engined Popemobile, the pedal-powered version is silent and has zero emissions.
Pedal-powered Popemobile specifications
• 8mm bullet-proof Plexiglass windows
• Solar panels on roof power air conditioning and trickle charge main battery
• Operational speed 6mph with emergency power train boost (top speed 38mph)
• Low-voltage spotlights in floor and roof compartment to illuminate His Holiness
• Blast-proof body panels constructed from lightweight titanium and ceramic composite
• Built-in oxygen supply
“Cycling is the great leveller”
Designer of the pedal-powered Popemobile, Yannick Read, said: “Cycling is the great leveller – a means of transport as serene as it is practical and an entirely appropriate way for a Pope to travel. The green-credentials of the vehicle dovetail perfectly with Pope Francis’s image as the people’s pontiff.”
The pedal-powered Popemobile has an operating speed no different from the pontiff’s current Mercedes; 6mph allows crowds the best opportunity of catching a glimpse of His Holiness. In an emergency, a powerful 1.5kW electric motor whisks the pedal-powered Popemobile away from trouble at almost 40mph.
Previous gas-guzzling Popemobiles were based on a Mercedes ML430 V8, GMS Sierra 6.0 V8, Mercedes G-Glass 5-litre V8, Leyland Motors 24-ton lorry and a Mercedes 600 Pullman Landaulet 6.3 V8 among others.