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Young car designers tackle low-emission Popemobile

Young designers participating in an annual auto design competition next year have been asked to create a low-emission popemobile. Whether it will ever be made, is another question.

The Vatican is reaching out to young car designers participating in the 2012 Autostyle International Design Competition to create a low-emission popemobile that still comes equipped with all of the security bells and whistles required to protect Pope Benedict XVI, according to reports.

The competition is organized by Italian auto parts maker Berman, which picks 12 students each year from universities and auto design schools from the around the world. The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano announced details of the competition last week. The best green popemobile designs will be compiled in a book published by the Vatican publishing house.

Whether the low-emission popemobile will ever be made, is less clear. Talk of a more eco-friendly popemobile has been brought up in the past. But an actual "green" popemobile has yet to be produced. Last June, the Vatican said Benedict would be riding in a custom-made Merecedes M-Class plug-in hybrid based on the Merecedes Vision S500 plug-in hybrid. At the time, Vatican said that they opted for a plug-in hybrid, versus an all-electric popemobile for safety reasons. Benedict needs a vehicle that can accelerate quickly in an emergency.

[Via: L'Ossevatore Romano; Associate Press]

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com