popemobile
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images for Toyota

Pope Francis received as a gift from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan – a hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai adapted for his mobility needs.

The emissions free car is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system, enabling a range of around 500km (approximately 300 miles) while emitting only water.

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The popemobile has a length of 5.1 metres and a height (including the roof) of 2.7 metres, allowing the Pope to stand and be visible to people. The Mirai (named after a word that in Japanese means ‘future’) is the first mass-produced hydrogen powered saloon and was launched in 2014.

The Mirai also features a high-intensity LED lighting system, a pair of Vatican diplomat flags for the front fenders, and a pair of golden Vatican insignias further back.

Steps have been fitted to the rear door sills to allow for easy access into the podium, which also has protective glass either side of the seat.

The choice in vehicle seems a logical one for the Pope, who has an interest in environmental matters, as was conveyed in his Laudato si’ in 2015. The paper appeals to all to safeguard the earth and all that surrounds us, changing our lifestyle to preserve our ‘common home’ of Earth.

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Present at the delivery ceremony near the Pope’s residence in the Vatican City, were Rev. Father Domenico Makoto Wada (representing the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan) and His Excellency Seiji Okada (Ambassador of Japan to the Holy See).

Representing Toyota was a delegation of six people led by Miguel Fonseca (senior vice president of Toyota Motor Europe) and Mauro Caruccio (CEO of Toyota Motor Italia).

Images courtesy of Toyota UK.