You’ve probably seen the Popemobile on the news transporting the pope as he waves to a roaring crowd. Since the Pope is based in Europe, you may have assumed the vehicle carrying him around was European. It once was, but now it is the America-made electric vehicle Opel Ampera-e that ditches the gaudy bulletproof glass enclosure for a dialed back look.
Opel Ampera-e’s are manufactured in Detroit, Michigan and are the European restyled version of the Chevy Bolt EV that’s popular here in the U.S. Unlike past iterations of the Popemobile, the Opel Amepera-e does away with the bulletproof glass boxes. It instead looks like a normal car you’d see on the streets—drawing much less attention.
Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann personally handed over the keys of the brand new Ampera-e Popemobile to Pope Francis during Laudato Sì: the Sustainability of Communication and Innovation conference promoting environmental issues. Vatican City has made a concentrated effort of becoming the first country to emit no carbon. Equipping the pope with an electric car is probably the best place to start that goal.
Opel notes the Ampera-e is rated with a range of 520 kilometers, or 323 miles according to NEDC testing in European Union countries. That’s plenty of range to get around Vatican City.