Everyone in the world probably knows how Pope Francis prefers simple living. Thus, it would be impossible to see the Pope in luxury and opulent models. As such, his holiness generally prefers to be in a Fiat 500L or a Renault 4.
Currently, the Vatican has disclosed that it is implementing plans to be the first ever country in the world to be CO2-free. It is important then to make the shift to electric models or ones that are powered with renewable energy.
Opel's latest gift to the Pope falls in line with the overall ambition of the Vatican. The brand gave him the keys to the latest Opel Ampera-e and this was presented to the Pope by CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann himself. This was at the sidelines of the "Laudato Sì: the Sustainability of Communication and Innovation" conference. The conference was attended by various entrepreneurs, experts, institutions, and opinion leaders. The objective of the conference was to discuss certain issues related to environmental sustainability and hopefully answer questions when it comes to what the future of mobility is. At the same conference, the brand, Vatican, and Enel, an energy company based in Italy, made a commitment to develop a sustainable mobility program for this all important city state.
Commenting on the event, CEO Neumann said that the brand is more than happy to help the Vatican achieve its goal of being CO2-free. He added that with the Ampera-e, electric mobility becomes possible on a daily basis but with none of the compromises.
For those not familiar, the Ampera-e is actually the European version of the more famous Chevrolet Bolt. This electric hatchback has a total range of 520 km (323 miles) under the New European Driving Cycle. Just for comparison, the Environmental Protection Agency puts the Bolt at around 383 km (238 miles). Powering the Ampera-e is an electric motor capable of 150 kW (204 hp) with peak torque of 360 Nm (266 lb.-ft.). With this, the Ampera-e can go from standstill to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) within 7.3 seconds.
Prior to the Ampera-e, the Pope had received a 1984 Renault 4 that already had 190,000 miles on it. This was a gift from an Italian priest given back in 2013. While in Argentina prior to becoming the head of the Catholic world, Pope Francis used simple hatchbacks.
With overall length of 4,166 mm (164.0 in) and total width at 1,765 mm (69.5 in), the Ampera-e is indeed rather small. That is no problem though given that the Vatican is only 44 ha. (110 acres).
The Bolt was developed in 2012 before being officially unveiled as a concept model during the 2015 North American International Auto Show. By February of 2015, it was confirmed that the Bolt EV would be going to production.