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by Brett Davis

The Pope has received a new car, and it’s not an electric vehicle as the Pope once asked for. It’s a custom-built Mercedes-Benz M-Class plug-in hybrid vehicle with the extended capsule at the back.

(older model shown)

In December last year, Pope Benedict XVI announced he wanted to upgrade his combustion engine vehicle for a fully electric one. Reports say His Holiness became increasingly unconvinced on an electric alternative though, as it may not have provided enough acceleration in an emergency.

Instead, a plug-in hybrid has been adopted. So it’s still relatively green, but has the power if need be. The plug-in running gear is said to have come from the Mercedes-Benz Vision S500, a car which was first unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

In the S500, it features a conventional petrol engine as well as a 45kW electric motor which is able to propel the car by itself. In full electric mode, the plug-in is able to travel up to 30 kilometres on a single charge, using a 10kWh lithium-ion battery.

Quick enough for the Pope? Well, the particular powertrain in the Vision S500 is able to pull the car from 0-100km/h in around 5.5 seconds. In the larger, bullet-proof Popemobile, these figures could be slightly slower but we’re betting it’ll still be fast enough.

More in-depth details of the car have not been released for security reasons.




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