Pope Francis will trade in his Popemobile for a new electric vehicle that will be manufactured by California-based electric car startup Fisker.
The pope, who has frequently spoken out on environmental issues, met with the founders; Henrik Fisker and Geeta Gupta-Fisker who promised an SUV from their company by next year.
It will be based on the Fisker Ocean SUV the company plans to put in production in 2022.
“I got inspired reading that Pope Francis is very considerate about the environment and the impact of climate change for future generations,” Henrik Fisker said in a statement.
The founders managed to meet the pope through a mutual friend.
This is the second zero-emission vehicle that the Argentine-born pope will receive. Last year, Japanese automaker Toyota delivered a specially customized version of its Mirai fuel-cell vehicle.
It’s currently one of three hydrogen-powered vehicles on the market. The Toyota popemobile has not seen extensive use, however, largely due to the challenges of finding a readily accessible source of the lightweight gas during the pontiff’s travels.
Fisker’s upcoming Ocean electric SUV seems to be the inspiration for the papal vehicle. The renderings look like a modified Ocean with its solar panel roof moved to the top of the all-glass papal cupola, or viewing area.
Recycled materials for the seats and carpets, including plastic bottles from the ocean, would be part of the interior design to keep with the sustainability theme.
The Fisker Ocean, with a $37,499 starting price and up to 350-mile range battery, is set to start production in November in time for a 2022 release. The company says it has more than 16,000 pre-orders.