Toyota Mirai is the nickname of the new Popemobile for Pope Francis. It is a hydrogen car. A first for a papal vehicle, but nothing surprising given that Pope Francis very regularly refers to climate issues during his speeches.
Indispensable for the Pope’s travels around the world, the popemobile is very representative of the times they pass through. Initially a simple mobile throne, the papal vehicle very quickly became motorized, developed by major brands such as Mercedes, Range Rover, or Cadillac. In 1981, the attack against John Paul II (the Pope was driving around in a Fiat Campagnola) required that the new papamobiles be systematically armored. Today, new priorities have appeared and the new Papamobile offered to Pope Francis is indicative of these changes. This Toyota Mirai is indeed the first popemobile running on hydrogen, a carbon-free energy. This 5.10 meter long and 2.7 meter high vehicle (very convenient for the Pope to greet the standing crowd) is a gift from the Japanese Conference of Catholic Bishops (CBJC). This is not the first time that a pontifical sovereign has acquired a so-called clean car. Before François, Benedict XVI had received a Kangoo ZE from the French brand Renault. Note that if hydrogen cars are carbon-free, their production is not. They are not sold on a large scale because they would require the establishment of a real “hydrogen economy” which would be based on production which is currently absent. In France, the Toyota Mirai has been on the market since 2018 and is sold at a price of 78,900 euros.