Pope Benedict XVI will be traveling in greener style in the future when a project for a new hybrid popemobile gets off the drawing boards and on to the road, a papal spokesman said.
Mercedes-Benz is making plans for an energy-saving papal vehicle that could be used at home or abroad, said Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office.
On papal trips, Pope Benedict is usually driven in a white Mercedes with bullet-proof glass that allows him to sit and wave at the crowds from the back.
Vatican officials said late last year that the pope, who has said he is committed to saving energy at the Vatican, would welcome an electric vehicle as a symbol of his support for measures that promote energy sustainability.
News reports have said that Vatican security vetoed an all-electric option because they feared it wouldn’t have enough power to accelerate quickly should there be an emergency. Father Lombardi did not confirm those reports.
A hybrid vehicle has both an electric motor and a gasoline engine.
The new vehicle will not be completed in time for the pope’s Sept. 22-25 trip to Germany, Father Lombardi said.