Hydrogen-powered cars are not the miracle solution some people want us to believe, but from an environmental perspective, they have many advantages over fossil fuels and even conventional electric vehicles.
Knowing how much Pope Francis cares about climate change, Toyota and the Catholic Bishop Conference of Japan recently chose to gift his Holiness with a special version of the Toyota Mirai. Now that’s a radical departure from the classic Popemobiles we’re used to seeing.
Then again, it’s not a real surprise. Since being elected in 2013, Pope Francis has been looking for alternatives to expensive and opulent machines like Mercedes-Benzes as a way to preach frugality and simple living.
The Mirai he received last week has been customized with a raised platform allowing the Pope to remain highly visible during his public outings. A safety cage in armoured glass surrounds the platform and is capped by a transparent roof positioned nearly nine feet off the ground.
An LED lighting system, gilded badges and Vatican diplomat flags over the front fenders complete the transformation.
This Toyota Mirai provides a range of approximately 500 kilometres. Pope Francis is most certainly happy with the gift, although we wonder if he secretly would have preferred the second-generation Mirai that’s due to hit the market by the end of 2020.
As revealed by the concept above, styling is much more attractive, the new rear-wheel-drive architecture is more rigid and more dynamic, the performance of the fuel cell system is improved and the hydrogen tanks are larger, which translates into a 30-percent increase in range, the company claims. Toyota also promises a more powerful, engaging and even quieter driving experience.