Fisker to build first all-electric popemobile for Pope Francis
After unveiling its long-awaited Ocean SUV at CES last year, electric vehicle startup Fisker is turning its attention to papal transport, revealing plans to develop a purpose-built all-electric vehicle for Pope Francis. The car will be based on the Ocean, which the company says is well-suited to such applications, and is expected to be delivered to His Holiness next year.
Fisker unveiled its Ocean SUV last year, revealing what it calls the world's most sustainable vehicle, with a 80-kWh battery pack offering a range of 250 to 300 miles (402 to 483 km). Other eco-friendly features include vegan-friendly materials throughout the interior, such as carpet made from plastic waste recovered from the ocean. There is also a full-length solar roof that Fisker claims can generate enough energy to power the car across an extra 1,000 miles (1,600 km) each year.
"I got inspired reading that Pope Francis is very considerate about the environment and the impact of climate change for future generations," says Fisker co-founder Henrik Fisker. "The interior of the Fisker Ocean papal transport will contain a variety of sustainable materials, including carpets made from recycled plastic bottles from the ocean."
This isn't the first time we've seen electric vehicles used to improve the eco-credentials of the Vatican, with Pope Francis previously receiving a Nissan Leaf in 2017, and Pope Benedict XVI receiving a modified all-electric Kangoo Maxi Z.E. from Renault back in 2012. But this will be the first all-electric popemobile that is intended for public appearances of the Pope.
Fisker says the Ocean's spacious interior lends itself to the design of an all-glass cupola for clear views in and out of the vehicle as the Pope is transported through or near crowds of people. It plans to deliver the one-off EV to Pope Francis next year, while production for the Ocean SUV is expected to kick off in November 2022, with pricing starting at US$37,499.