The Popemobile has taken the shape of many automobiles over the years, but the latest is likely the most environmentally friendly yet.
Opel has bestowed the current pontiff, Pope Francis, with a 2017 Ampera-e as the Vatican City aims to become the first country in the world to produce zero carbon emissions.
Of course, the Ampera-e is a slightly modified and rebadged 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which means the Pope's latest ride actually hails from Orion Township, Michigan—a stark contrast from popemobiles of yore. In Europe, the Ampera-e utilizes the exact same engineering and technology found in North America's Bolt EV, though the liberal European test cycle (NEDC) means it's rated at 520 kilometers of range, or 323 miles. The EPA has rated the 2017 Bolt EV at 238 miles or range.
Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann presented the Ampera-e to Pope Francis at last week's Laudato Sì: the Sustainability of Communication and Innovation conference held in the Vatican. Here, various institutions, leaders, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss climate change and other issues pertaining to the environment. Pope Francis has long been an advocate for policies to protect the environment and curb climate change.
The 2017 Ampera-e is currently rolling out across Norway—the vehicle's launch market thanks to EV-friendly incentives and infrastructure. By the end of the year, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and other countries will begin to receive the battery-electric car.