Pope Francis has received as a gift from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ) a hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai adapted for his mobility needs. The car is one of two Toyota Mirai vehicles specially made by Toyota and donated to the CBCJ on the papal visit to Japan in November last year.
Present at the delivery ceremony near the Pope’s residence in the Vatican City, were Rev. Father Domenico Makoto Wada (representing the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan) and His Excellency Seiji Okada (Ambassador of Japan to the Holy See). Representing Toyota was a delegation of six people led by Miguel Fonseca (Senior Vice President of Toyota Motor Europe) and Mauro Caruccio (CEO of Toyota Motor Italia).
The popemobile has a length of 5.1 meters and a height (including the roof) of 2.7 meters, allowing the Pope to stand and be visible to people. The Mirai (named after a word that in Japanese means ‘future’) is the ultimate zero-emissions car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system, enabling a range of around 500km (approximately 300 miles) while emitting only water. Launched in 2014, it was also the first mass-produced hydrogen powered saloon.
Pope Francis has a deep interest in global environmental matters, which he shared in his encyclical Laudato si’ in 2015. This is his appeal to safeguard the earth and all that surrounds us, changing our lifestyle to preserve our ‘common home’. The Toyota Mirai is well suited to his vision.