Mercedes-Benz M-Class Popemobile

The Papal motorcade is packed with new cars, but the most famous of them is the Popemobile. Typically based on a Mercedes-Benz sport-ute, most recent examples have been modified versions of the G-Wagen or M-Class (like the one pictured above).

His Holiness has vocalized his desire for an all-electric vehicle, even a solar-powered one. But while moving all that bulletproof glass around on battery power alone might require no less a feat than an act of God, he may be about to get the next best thing.

Reports indicate that, at Benedict XVI's request, Mercedes-Benz is preparing a hybrid Popemobile based on the new M-Class. The vehicle would allow the pontiff to be chauffeured around on electric power at parade speed for up to 16 miles before the gasoline engine would need to kick in, a benefit similar to that enjoyed by neighboring head of state Prince Albert II of Monaco in his Lexus LS 600h L.

President Obama may not have gotten his wish with a hybrid Cadillac One, but we could be looking at a new trend in parade transportation for the wealthiest of public figures.