Fisker will build an electric Popemobile based on its planned Ocean electric SUV, the company announced Friday in a press release. Founder Henrik Fisker presented renderings to Pope Francis during a private audience Thursday, the company said.
Those renderings show a Fisker Ocean equipped with the trademark glass cupola and elevated viewing platform of the official papal transport.
Fisker claims this will be the first all-electric Popemobile, but an Opel Ampera-e (a rebadged Chevrolet Bolt EV) joined the Vatican fleet in 2017, while Renault presented Pope Benedict XVI with two modified Kangoo Z.E. electric vans in 2012. None of those vehicles got the full Popemobile treatment, however.
Fisker Ocean Popemobile
While the Vatican has favored Mercedes-Benz in the past, Pope Francis has tried to tone things down, employing a Hyundai Santa Fe Popemobile, as well as a Fiat 500L on one occasion. He was given a Lamborghini Huracán in 2017, but the supercar was auctioned off for charity.
Fisker plans to start production of the Ocean on Nov. 17, 2022, and expects to deliver the Popemobile before the end of next year. After plans to use Volkswagen's MEB platform fell through, Fisker cut a deal with automotive supplier Magna to use that company's EV platform. The Ocean will be built at the Magna-Steyr factory in Graz, Austria, which currently builds the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Jaguar I-Pace and E-Pace, and the BMW Z4/Toyota Supra twins.
The Ocean will have up to 350 miles of range, with a $37,499 base price, according to Fisker. The company is also working with Chinese manufacturer Foxconn to launch a sub-$30,000 EV by 2023, which the partners aim to build in the U.S.