Pope Francis will get an all-electric popemobile from EV Fisker start-up – fr

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Pope Francis will get an all-electric popemobile from EV Fisker start-up – fr


Pope Francis, who has spoken often on environmental issues, will exchange his popemobile for a new model that runs entirely on battery power.

The pontiff met on Thursday with Henrik Fisker and Geeta Gupta-Fisker, founders of California electric car start-up Fisker, who provided him with renderings of the vehicle they plan to deliver in the fourth quarter of next year. It will be based on the Fisker Ocean SUV that the company plans to put into production in 2022.

“I was inspired to read that Pope Francis is very attentive to the environment and the impact of climate change on future generations,” Henrik Fisker said in a statement.

Fisker co-founders Henrik Fisker and Geeta Gupta-Fisker, in a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday.Fisker

The connection with the Pope, Fisker told NBC News via email, was made through a “mutual friend. [who] organized the meeting.

This is the second zero-emission vehicle that the Pope of Argentine origin will receive. Last year, Japanese automaker Toyota delivered a specially customized version of its Mirai fuel cell vehicle. It is currently one of three hydrogen powered vehicles on the market. The Toyota popemobile was not widely used, however, in large part due to the challenges of finding an easily accessible source of light gas during the pontiff’s travels.

Traditionally, Popes have traveled in vehicles supplied to the Holy See by Mercedes-Benz, the first being presented to Pope Pius XI in 1930. Recent models have included see-through compartments where the Pope can stand while protecting him. This became essential following an attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in May 1981 in St. Peter’s Square.

For his part, the current Pope has kept a low profile when it comes to the vehicles in which he travels, preferring to use Fords, Jeeps and Fiats.

Considering the eco-friendly nature of the Fisker product and the fact that Francis met the founders of the company, there is a good chance that it will find more use than Toyota’s popemobile once it is delivered.

The design is based on the ocean, the first product Fisker plans to bring to market. Currently, it is expected to go into production at a factory in Austria on November 17.

Several configurations will be offered to the public, including one capable of traveling 300 miles between charges. A base model with a more limited range should cost the United States $ 37,499 before applying the current $ 7,500 in federal tax credits.

Fisker founder and CEO Henrik Fisker has promised to offer a range of options for the retail model. The version reserved for Pope Francis will, however, have at least one feature not accessible to the public: a unique, hand-built dome in which he can stand and greet the public on his travels.

The bulletproof glass canopy, Fisker said, will be hidden in the roof of the SUV until the Pope needs it. It will then rise at the push of a button. He declined to provide further details, such as whether the electric popemobile will use the high-performance powertrain the company is developing for the Ocean SUV. This system will be able to throw from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds. But it will have a few other “special details and features,” Fisker said.

What may be more important on the road will be the ocean’s rapid charge capacity. The retail version will be able to get an 80% battery in under 30 minutes, according to the automaker.

Fisker told NBC News that for the green-minded Pope himself, the battery drive system is only part of the appeal of the modified SUV. While some competitors are likely to quibble with its claim that the Ocean is “the world’s most sustainable vehicle,” it forgoes traditional luxury materials like leather in favor of alternatives derived from recycled soda bottles and even of plastics recovered from the ocean.

One of the highlights of the project was meeting Francis, said Fisker, noting that “the Pope even signed the sketch I made of the Ocean at a nearby Italian cafe, before the private meeting.

Fisker’s founders could probably use a little intervention from above. They will launch their new company at a time when the electric car market is expected to experience significant growth – but also a flood of new products from traditional manufacturers like Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen, as well as upstart brands like Tesla, Rivian, Lordstown. Motors and others.

Henrik Fisker was a pioneer in the field, bringing a plug-in hybrid to the market ten years ago. But Fisker Automotive quickly went bankrupt, its assets sold to a Chinese company.

The Danish-born entrepreneur started out as a designer, earning a solid reputation for his work on less environmentally friendly products like the Aston Martin DB9 and the BMW Z8.

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