Pope goes green with customised electric runabout
Pope Benedict XVI has taken delivery of his first environmentally-friendly electric car at a ceremony near Rome.
The customised Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E. is one of two of the boxy runabouts for the papal fleet, both fitted with a 44 kW (60 horsepower) electric motor and a lithium-ion battery.
The white Renault adorned with the papal coat of arms was handed over to the 85-year-old pontiff personally by Renault chief Carlos Ghohn at the pope's summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, Germany's Autobild gazette reported.
Modifications by coachmaker Grunau to the papal Kangoo include two plushly upholstered, individual rear seats instead of the standard bench, removable side windows and a sunroof which has been adapted to open at a wider angle than the version usually fitted.
A set of powered steps eases entry to the rear of the car. A second blue-painted electric Kangoo version will be used by gendarmes in Vatican City.