PARIS (Reuters) -- Pope Benedict will be able to limit his impact on the environment as he travels around his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo thanks to a new custom-made electric vehicle donated by French car maker Renault.
The white vehicle has the Papal coat of arms on its doors, Renault said today. Based on the Kangoo Maxi van, it has a 44-kilowatt electric motor and lithium-ion battery, and can travel 106 miles without recharging.
"It is an ecological, sustainable-development version of the Popemobile," Renault said.
Renault also presented a second electric vehicle for use by the Vatican Corps of Gendarmerie for the Pope's security, similar to the first but with blue livery and a white and yellow stripe along each side.
The vehicles, which were handed over to the Pope by Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, were developed with French coach builder Gruau, Renault said.
"This donation to His Holiness is a means for Renault to reaffirm its strong and durable commitment to sustainable development and respect for the environment," Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said in a statement.
Ghosn was raised in Lebanon in the Maronite Church and studied in a Jesuit school, according to various biographical accounts. Although the Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church, it is loyal to the Church of Rome and to the Pope.
The public is used to seeing the pope traveling in a white Popemobile, based on the Mercedes-Benz M-Class with bulletproof windows.
Automotive News staff contributed to this report.