Toyota Mirai popemobile built for Pope Francis

Toyota and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan have teamed up to provide his holiness, Pope Francis, with a new set of wheels.

The Vatican’s latest popemobile is based on the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai, which the papal state says will complement the Pope’s concerns about climate change.

Like every popemobile before it, this Toyota Mirai features a few tweaks to suit the Pope’s needs. Most noticeably, there’s a redesigned rear end with an elevated seat and safety cage, which allows the Pope’s followers to see him clearly during his public appearances.

There’s also an LED lighting system, a pair of Vatican diplomat flags for the front wings, a couple of gilded Vatican insignias and a convenience step mounted to the rear door sill, to allow the Pope easy access to the rear of his vehicle.

The Toyota Mirai is powered by a 115kW electric motor, which is fed by a hydrogen-electric generator. The company says the powertrain provides a maximum range of around 500km – and, as the powertrain generates electricity by combining hydrogen with the ambient air, the only emissions leaving its tailpipe are water.

Luke Wilkinson

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