Newest Popemobile is an EV

Renault presented the Pope with a specially built electric vehicle for use around his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

Renualt Popemobile
The Pope's new ride is based on a French cargo van. Renault

If cleanliness is next to godliness, then ecology must be right there beside it, as this week the Pope took possession of a new electric vehicle, built specially for his Holiness by Renault.

The new Popemobile is based on the Kangoo Max Z.E., an electric van-type vehicle not sold in the U.S. The drive system, composed of a 44-kilowatt electric motor and 22 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack, is similar to that used in the Nissan Leaf. The Pope will be able to ride for about 110 miles on a charge.

Instead of the simple rear bench or cargo area in the rear of a standard Renualt Kangoo, the Pope's version gets two big, plush, leather covered seats. There appears to be plenty of legroom and easy access through rear hinged side doors, but no rear seat entertainment system. White paint with Vatican livery coats the exterior.

When the Pope goes on tour, don't expect to see the Pope waving out the window of this new Popemobile. It will only be used at the Pope's summer residence, in the Italian town of Castel Gandolfo.

Renualt Popemobile
The seats look comfortable, but where is the rear seat DVD? Renault

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.


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