Startup vehicle manufacturer Fisker is taking its electric vehicles to a holy place. The company said today that it will make what it’s calling “the first all-electric papal transport.” In other words, an electric Popemobile.
The company announced on Instagram that Fisker’s co-founders, Henrik Fisker and Geeta Gupta-Fisker, had a private meeting with Pope Francis which resulted in an agreement to “[add] another vehicle to a long line of iconic designs from the pen of [CEO] Henrik Fisker.”
Based on the sketches and renderings the company released, the new Popemobile will add a familiar pop-up cupola made of glass to the company’s Ocean SUV. Fisker said it intends to deliver the one-off Fisker Ocean to the Pope next year.
The Ocean is Fisker’s first vehicle, and the company said it plans to start production on November 17, 2022. The all-electric SUV will start at $37,499 in the U.S., before any subsidies, and have a range of approximately 350 miles when outfitted with the “Ultra High Range” battery.
Henrik Fisker said on Twitter that, “It was an honor to have a private audience with Pope Francis … He is so conscience [sic] about our responsibility towards the environment & for our generations to come!”
Pope Francis has not been afraid to reframe Catholic thought in greener terms. In 2016, he said destroying the environment was a sin. “We must not be indifferent or resigned to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of ecosystems, often caused by our irresponsible and selfish behaviour," he said at the time. "Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence … We have no such right.”
The interior of the Ocean EV will be made using “a variety of sustainable materials, including carpets made from recycled plastic bottles from the ocean," Henrik Fisker said in a statement. Like many electric vehicle manufacturers, among them Volvo leading the charge, sustainability is a brand pillar for the startup EV maker.
The Fisker Popemobile won’t be the first time a pope has experienced in EV. In 2012, Renault gave the previous Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, a modified Kangoo Max Z.E. all-electric van for use at the Pope's summer residence in Italy.