Pope Benedict goes green

POPE Benedict XVI has taken delivery of his first environmentally friendly battery car at a handover near Rome.

Report by Wheels24
The customised Renault Kangoo Maxi ZE is one of two of the boxy runabouts for the papal fleet, each fitted with a 44kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery.

 
The white Renault adorned with the papal coat-of-arms was handed over to the 85-year-old pontiff personally by Renault chief Carlos Ghohn at the pope’s summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo. Benedict XVI has been dubbed “the green pope” for his environmental concerns. The city state intends that by 2020, 20% of its electricity will be provided by renewable energy.

 
“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 Ghosn.

 
Modifications to the papal Kangoo include two plushly upholstered individual rear seats instead of the standard bench, removable side windows and a sunroof which has been adapted to open at a wider angle than the version usually fitted.

 
A set of powered steps eases entry to the rear of the car. The EVs use lithium-ion batteries for an estimated range of 168km on the lenient New European Driving Cycletest 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 electric cars.

 
A second blue-painted electric Kangoo version will be used by gendarmes in Vatican City.