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Pope Benedict presented with electric car from Renault

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 7th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Known for his support of properly understood environmental causes, Pope Benedict XVI has been lauded as the "Green Pope." To this end, French automaker Renault has now gifted the pope with an electric car. A Kangoo, the pope will use the vehicle travel within the grounds of the Vatican and his summer home of Castel Gandalfo.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Vatican has installed photovoltaic cells in its main auditorium and joined a project to offset carbon dioxide emissions, since Pope Benedict began his tenure.

The Vatican maintains that by the year 2020, 20 percent of its electricity will be provided by renewable energy.

Manufacturer Renault says that the customized Kangoo Maxi van, which has the Papal coat of arms on its doors, has a 44 kilowatt electric motor and lithium-ion battery and can travel 105 miles without recharging.

Renault also gifted a second car, which is blue, to be used by the Vatican's police force. Each seats only four people, in two standard front seats and two separate, luxury rear seats. Each also has an opening roof and removable rear side windows for ceremonial occasions, hinged rear side doors and electrically folding door steps.

Presented to the Pope earlier this week at Castel Gandolfo, in the Alban Hills south of Rome, the vehicles were presented by Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn, before being unveiled to the press.

The Pope used the new car to travel from the helipad at Castel Gandolfo through the gardens back to his palazzo, the Vatican said.

The pope was returning after presiding over his weekly audience at the Vatican.

However, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Pontiff's Kangoo would not be a new Popemobile as it lacked the necessary security features. The current Popemobile is based on the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and has bulletproof windows.

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