Pope Francis rides on hyodrogen

Climate-Friendly Popemobile

Pope Francis has taken delivery of a hydrogen-powered climate-friendly Popemobile.

The latest version of the Popemobile is a Toyota Mirai (meaning ‘The Future’) which he first had the use of on a visit to Japan in November 2019.

Toyota customised two of the automobiles for Pope Francis’ visit, and one of these is now part of the Vatican carpool.

Francis has a deep interest in global environmental matters, which he shared in his 2015 encyclical ‘Laudato si’, or ‘Praise Be to You’. In this document, the Pope highlighted the issue of human-driven climate change.

“This is his appeal to safeguard the earth and all that surrounds us, changing our lifestyle to preserve our ‘common home’. The Toyota Mirai is well suited to his vision,” Toyota said about the new Popemobile.

The standard production vehicle has been modified to suit the needs of the Pope.

The rear section of the papal Marai has an elevated platform with a seat and safety railings. This allows Pope Francis to safely stand and wave to crowds of followers as he passes by.

The Mirai is powered with electricity generated by a non-polluting hydrogen fuel cell and emits only water vapour.

The standard vehicle has a top speed of 111 mph (178 kph), and a range of 312 miles (502 kms) before needing a refuel, a task taking just 5 minutes.

With a price tag of USD$60,000, sales have been slow and hampered by the lack of hydrogen refuelling stations.

In a departure from previous Popemobiles, the new modified Toyoat Mirai has no bulletproof glass protecting the Pope from would-be assailants.

In 2014, not long after his papacy began, Pope Francis decided against the extra layer of protection, saying, “at my age, I don’t have much to lose.”


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News category: World.

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