Pope Francis may ditch gas-fed Popemobile for pedal-powered one

But still bulletproof
Apr 1, 2013

TopGear.com.ph Philippine Car News - Pope Francis may ditch gas-fed Popemobile for pedal-powered one

Pope Francis is making another step toward cementing his image as the people's pontiff by being the first head of the Catholic Church to ride in the first-ever, pedal-powered Popemobile.

The carbon-neutral Popemobile was originally commissioned by the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) after Pope Francis's predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, expressed his desire for "a green, all-electric vehicle."

With a price of £175,000 (P10,863,000), the pedal-powered Popemobile costs only half the amount of the pontiff's current car. And in contrast to the current 5.0-liter V8 gasoline-engined Popemobile, the pedal-powered version is silent and has zero emissions.

Some of the equipment the pedal-powered Popemobile is fitted with are:

* 8mm bulletproof Plexiglas windows;

* Roof-mounted solar panels to power the air-conditioning and trickle-charge the main battery;

* An operational speed of 10kph with emergency power train boost (with a top speed 60kph);

* Low-voltage spotlights in the floor and roof compartment to illuminate the vehicle's passenger;

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* Blast-proof body panels constructed from lightweight titanium and ceramic composite; and

* Built-in oxygen supply

"Cycling is the great leveler--a means of transport as serene as it is practical, and an entirely appropriate way for a Pope to travel," said the pedal-powered Popemobile's designer, Yannick Read. "The green credentials of the vehicle dovetail perfectly with Pope Francis's image as the people's pontiff."

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According to the ETA, if the design plans receive final approval today, April 1, the Pope will take delivery of the pedal-powered Popemobile later this year.

This being April Fools' Day, we'll take this one with a grain of salt.

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