Over the years, various vehicles have been used to ferry the pope of the Catholic Church during public appearances. The latest is from Toyota, with the Japanese carmaker presenting a modified Mirai to Pope Francis as a gift from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ).
The gifted car is one of two Mirai vehicles specially made by Toyota for the mobility needs of the pope on his papal visit to Japan in November last year. As you can see, the modifications are largely centred on the rear of the hydrogen-powered car, where a white structure was constructed to house the pope, along with everything he may need to stay comfortable during parades.
According to the Toyota, the popemobile measures 5.1 metres in length and with the structure adding another 1.2 metres, the vehicle stands at 2.7 metres tall. Aside from the reworked body, the rest of the car is unchanged, with the electric motor providing 152 hp and 335 Nm of torque.
The fuel cell stack charges a 1.6-kWh nickel-metal hydride battery and with the two hydrogen fuel tanks, a range of over 500 km is possible, all while exhausting just water from the tailpipes.
You’ll notice that the rear structure doesn’t feature any bulletproof glass, and this is intentional. Pope Francis has previously announced that he will not use a bulletproof popemobile, saying, “’it is true that anything could happen, but let’s face it, at my age I don’t have much to lose.”
The current Mirai has been around since 2014, with a second-generation model set to make its debut in December this year. The company has already given us a preview of what to expect with a concept in October last year, where it promises 30% greater range than its predecessor.
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