(CNN Business) – Fisker is set to develop the first fully electric popemobile based on its new Ocean SUV.
Henrik Fisker and Geeta Gupta-Fisker, co-founders of the American electric car manufacturing startup, had a private audience with Pope Francis on Thursday to show him the new design.
The duo presented the Vatican with a concept of a modified Fisker Ocean, a sleek, modern SUV with a glass dome, giving crowds their best chance to see the pontiff. Fisker said he plans to deliver the unique vehicle to the pope in 2022.
“I was inspired by reading that Pope Francis is very considerate of the environment and the impact of climate change for future generations,” Henrik Fisker said in a statement. The interior of the vehicle will contain “a variety of sustainable materials, including mats made from recycled plastic bottles from the ocean,” he added.
Fisker said it has received more than 16,000 orders for the Ocean, with production expected to begin on November 17.
The popemobile is the name given to custom-made vehicles used to transport the pope to public appearances. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the vehicles are designed to protect the pontiff while at the same time allowing him to be visible to crowds.
In the past, the task force has included a handrail for the pope to hold while greeting crowds, and steps to allow easy access in and out of the vehicle. Pope Benedict XVI had two popemobiles, according to the Conference of Catholic Bishops, and one made by Mercedes-Benz was sent to the United States for his 2008 visit.
Mercedes-Benz, which is owned by Daimler, has provided vehicles to the pope since 1930, when Pope Pius XI received a Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460 as a gift from the company. Mercedes-Benz says it also developed the first popemobile with a transparent superstructure for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Germany in 1980.
Mercedes-Benz claims that the same popes have held vehicles in “high regard.”
According to the automaker, when an M-Class popemobile was delivered to Pope John Paul II in Rome in 2002, the pontiff asked the media to avoid using the term “pope-mobile” because it “was not in keeping with dignity and purpose. of these cars ».