The Pope is working on his green creds. When the German Pope Benedikt XVI will come to Germany in September, he will wave at the faithful from a plug-in hybrid. Made in Germany, of course. Mercedes is putting the finishing touches on a new popemobile. Based on the new M-Klasse, it is powered by a 60 hp hybrid module. The lithium io battery will supposedly be rechargeable in 60 minute, allowing the Pope to travel for 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) on heavenly electrical power alone. Once depleted, the ICE kicks in.
Why no pure plug-in? Deranged-anxiety. In case of an attack, the car must be “escape-capable,” as Gemany’s Wirtschaftswoche reports.
In the meantime, mere mortals are lacking divine inspiration. Says USA Today:
“Despite months of high gas prices, a bevy of new fuel-stingy cars with conventional gas engines may be eating into sales of pricier gas-electric hybrids.”
“Sales of high-mileage, high-value conventional compacts such as the Hyundai Elantra (shown above), Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze are hot, while hybrid sales have stagnated.”
Why? Filthy lucre.
“Even with the fuel savings, it doesn’t make sense to buy a hybrid” for many buyers, says J.D. Power Senior Manager Mike Omotoso. “This year, we had $4 gas (in many cities) but we saw the introduction of compacts that get 40 mpg. All of these cars are considerably cheaper than hybrids.”