NBC Newsreports that Pope Francis's Fisker Popemobile is based on the upcoming Fisker Ocean SUV. Fisker says it's an appropriate choice for His Holiness, considering his views on climate change. What sort of features will the Fisker Popemobile have?
What is Fisker Automotive?
The company was founded by Henrik Fisker, who previously worked on designing the BMW Z8 and some Aston Martin models. He even briefly worked at Tesla, which inspired him to try and design his own hybrid car. After the car's battery supplier went bankrupt, he shifted his focus towards electric cars.
The discontinued Fisker Karma is still on the market, though you'll likely have to pay well over $100,000 for one. The Fisker Ocean is more reasonably priced, starting at $37,499. It's not only all-electric, but has many sustainable interior components made from recycled plastic.
Not much is known about the Fisker Ocean's powertrain yet, but
Car and Driversay it might have an 80-kWh battery pack. Fisker also boasts that the Ocean can reach 60 mph in just under three seconds. It could have up to 300 miles of electric range, with Americans being able to charge it at any Electrify America station.
Fisker also says that the Ocean will ride on an all-new EV platform, complete with a solar panel roof. This roof could potentially give drivers up to 1,000 free miles per year, increasing the Ocean's efficiency. The Ocean has also been stated to have a protective housing for the battery to avoid side impact damage.
The inside of the Ocean is aesthetically pleasing, made from vegan white faux-suede and polyester-rubber flooring. A big touchscreen rests at the center, complemented by a digital gauge cluster and a head-up display. Other standard features have yet to be announced, but it will have two wireless charging pads.
The Ocean Popemobile will also have some exclusive features. A transparent compartment has been built onto the roof, so Pope Francis can safely wave to his followers. The glass on this compartment is usually bulletproof.
The Popes' other electric Popemobiles
In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI received an electric Renault Kangoo van, but it wasn't really used for official appearances. The Toyota Mirai gifted to Pope Francis by Toyota in 2019 was more widely publicized. The Mirai is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, capable of 402 miles of range.
Its powertrain only makes 182 hp, but that's more than enough for the Pope's slow-moving caravan. Unfortunately, it's hard to fuel up a Mirai due to the limited availability of hydrogen fuel cells. North American customers can only purchase a Toyota Mirai in California, where a majority of its fueling stations are located.
When will the Fisker Ocean be released?
The Fisker Ocean's official release date has been repeatedly pushed back, but it's currently marketed as a 2022 model. Along with its affordable sub-$40k price point, you can claim $7,500 in federal tax credits. Pope Francis will reportedly receive his Fisker Popemobile sometime next year.
Fisker hasn't been the most reliable automaker, leading some industry experts to question the Ocean's potential success. However, with the Pope's official endorsement, there's no doubt that some of his followers might be influenced to buy one. Although few official details have been released, the Fisker Ocean is potentially a very worthy competitor in the electric SUV segment.