December 16, 2012. (Romereports.com)
This is the Pope's new popemobile.
It was given to him as a gift, by car maker Mercedes-Benz. For the first time, the Pope took it for a ride, all the way from the Vatican to Rome's Spanish steps, for the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.
It was a relatively short trip. But still, there are some noticeable differences
between this popemobile and the last.
The last popemobile, Benedict XVI used up until a few days ago, was actually designed for John Paul II. It falls under the Mercedes Benz, 'G class'. The old design is softer, but its windows reflect light, which sometimes prevented people from seeing the Pope clearly.
But this new popemobile, is a so called 'M class'
It has halogen lighting on the roof, which makes the light seem quite natural. Also, the window glass has a special shield that doesn't reflect light.
The new design in this latest popemobile is quite obvious, not just on the outside, but also in the interior. The cabin itself where the Pope sits or stands along with his secretary, is more spacious.
Actually getting to that area is easier and more accessible. The car also has a small elevator to enhance the Pope's visibility as needed.
It runs on regular gas and as part of its design it has an image of Our Lady of Loreto
, to accompany the Pope.
In the meantime, Mercedes Benz is also working on a hybrid popmobile, so that Benedict XVI can be 'eco friendly' as he travels along St. Peter's Square. Just a few minor changes to these historic cars that for years have taken Popes around the world.