Francis Gets eBike Along With New Popemobile

Image: Francis Gets eBike Along With New Popemobile

Thursday, 04 Jul 2013 02:24 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Mercedes-Benz has been building Popemobiles for pontiffs for the past 80 years or so, but this time around, the head of the Catholic Church is also getting one of the company's new smart eBikes to zip around on as well.

The German car company's head,  Dieter Zetsche, turned over the keys to Pope Francis on Tuesday in the Vatican, its parent company Daimler announced.

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And with it came the eBike,  part of Daimler's push to create local emission-free electric mobility for its customers. Electronic bikes are becoming all the rage in Europe, where sales have quadrupled as hundreds of thousands of people choose them as a means of transportation.

Daimler's new smart eBike came out just last year, and production is expected to rapidly spread into North America.

The eBike likely led well into a conversation between Zetsche and Pope Francis, who discussed Daimler's aim to create an environmentally friendly, sustainable future for the auto industry, the company reported.

Zetche said creating the Popemobile is a 'huge source of pride to us, and Daimler is delighted that His Holiness Pope Francis has decided to trust in the safety and comfort of our vehicles and that, by providing the Popemobile, we will continue to accompany him on his travels in the future."

Mercedes-Benz began providing vehicles for the head of the Catholic Church in 1930, when it provided a vehicle for Pope Pius XI and again in the 1960s with a vehicle for Pope John XII.

However, nobody used the term "Popemobile" until the 1980s, when people used it to describe a modified Mercedes G-Class made for Pope John Paul II.

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