Popes know how to travel in style, as the long list of iconic Popemobiles can attest to. In recent years, His Holiness Benedict XVI – aka the "Green Pope" – has been trying to clean up those bubbly vehicles with alternative powertrains. He wanted a plug-in hybrid from Mercedes-Benz or a solar-powered car, but those have yet to come to fruition. In July, the Vatican did get an all-electric vehicle from NWG Zero.

The latest holy roller is a new all-electric vehicle from Renault. Modified with help from Gruau, the Kangoo Maxi Z.E. was donated to the Vatican by Renault- Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn at the Holy Father's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo yesterday. The Pope's bodyguards can ride in EV style, too, since Renault donated a second EV, that one decked out in blue and white, to the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City. The EVs use lithium-ion batteries for an estimated range of 105 miles on the lenient European NEDC test cycle. The interiors "are fitted with two particularly comfortable separate seats at the rear," says Renault. The roof opens, too, in case His Holiness would like to stand and wave at people who don't get free cars.
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Renault makes donation of an exclusive all-electric vehicle to Pope Benedict XVI
  • French carmaker Renault has presented His Holiness Benedict XVI with an electric vehicle designed and built especially to meet the Pope's mobility needs.
  • The vehicle is based on Kangoo Maxi Z.E. and was developed in association with the French coachbuilder Gruau. Renault also donated a second electric vehicle to the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City.
  • These vehicles were presented to the Pope yesterday by the Renault Group's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn at the Holy Father's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
Renault has presented the Vatican with two electric vehicles made especially to meet the mobility needs of the Pope. The vehicles were handed over on Wednesday, September 5, to His Holiness Benedict XVI by Renault's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn during a visit to the Pope's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

The first vehicle, for use when the Pope is travelling at his summer residence, is white with the Papal coat of arms depicted on the doors. It is an ecological, sustainable-development version of the Popemobile. Based on Kangoo Maxi Z.E., it measures 4.6 metres in length and 1.8 metres in width. It is powered by a 44kW (60hp) electric motor and a lithium-ion battery which ensures an average NEDC combined-cycle range of 170km.

The design of the other vehicle is very similar to that of the first, although its blue livery features a white and yellow stripe along each flank. It is for use by the Corps of Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City for the Pope's security.

The two cars were converted in association with the French constructor-coachbuilder Gruau. These special, exclusive vehicles can seat up to four people and are fitted with two particularly comfortable separate seats at the rear. Other specific solutions include an opening roof, removable rear side windows, hinged rear side doors and electrically folding door steps to facilitate ingress.

The two vehicles see Renault put its experience as automobile manufacturer and leader of the electric vehicle sector at the service of the sustainable development message of the Vatican and His Holiness Benedict XVI. Recognised as particularly attentive to environmental issues, the Pope has frequently underlined the need for sustainable development to safeguard Creation.

"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.

The Renault Group, which is active in 118 countries, creates, develops, manufactures and sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under three brand names: Renault, Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors. The Renault Z.E. programme, which seeks to promote electric mobility, symbolises its commitment in favour of the environment. As the electric vehicle market's leader, Renault stands out as the only automobile manufacturer to market a comprehensive range of technologically innovative and affordable electric automobiles and commercial vehicles. The range includes four models: Twizy (a city car), Fluence Z.E. (a spacious saloon car), Kangoo Z.E. (van) and, from the end of 2012, ZOE (compact hatchback).

Renault has a workforce of 128,000 worldwide. In 2011, the Renault Group reported total sales of €42,628 million and sold more than 2.7 million vehicles.

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