A greener Popemobile is reportedly in the works and could be on the road by next year.
A German newspaper reported over the weekend that Mercedes-Benz is designing a new hybrid four-wheel drive for Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican has confirmed that such a vehicle is under development but will not be ready in time for the pope’s visit to his native Germany in September as speculated and may be the end of next year before it will be put on the road.
The report says that Mercedes is working to develop a hybrid variation on the Pope’s M Class SUV that can run about 16 miles emission-free on a rechargable lithium-ion battery, yet have the backup power and pick up to reach high speeds in case of emergencies. The Mercedes Popemobiles feature thick bulletproof glass and a heavily-armored build for security and are mostly used on papal visits to other counties.