The Pope and the Vatican have been supporters of climate action and vehicle electrification for several years. I recall covering a couple of electric Popemobile stories, including the Pope getting a Nissan LEAF nearly 7 years ago and getting an electric Renault more than 11 years ago. However, the Vatican’s fleet is electrifying more than ever with a big order of Volkswagen ID vehicles.
The Vatican City State is getting nearly 40 Volkswagen ID electric vehicles. That includes the ID.3, ID.4, and ID.5 — no mention of the ID. Buzz. All of the electric Volkswagens will be delivered to the Vatican in early 2024.
The Vatican aims to have a completely carbon neutral fleet by 2030. To kick things off with the new Volkswagen lineup, “Imelda Labbé, Member of the Board of Management for Sales, Marketing and After-Sales at Volkswagen Passenger Cars, and Dr. Christian Dahlheim, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, have personally handed over the first two electric vehicles to the Vatican, two ID.3 Pro Performance models,” Volkswagen reports.
It seems that even with the order of nearly 40 Volkswagen EVs, the Pope is just getting started with Volkswagen Group. Eventually, he is supposed to get even more EVs from Volkswagen Group brands and fully electrify the fleet with the company’s help by 2030.
“The electrification of fleets is becoming increasingly important across the globe. The fact that Vatican employees will now also be among our ID. drivers in the future is a great target and honor for our brand and underscores the attractiveness of our all-electric ID. models,” said Imelda Labbé during the vehicle handover in Vatican City.
As an “everyperson” brand, it is not surprising that the Vatican has gone with a big Volkswagen lineup of EVs, and the ID.3, ID.4, and ID.5 are certainly popular electric cars. In fact, in the first nine months of 2023, the ID.4 was the best selling non-Tesla, non-Chinese electric car in the world (13th if you count Tesla and Chinese plugin vehicles, or 10th if you count just full electrics); and the ID.3 was the second best selling non-Tesla, non-Chinese electric car in the world (15th if you count Tesla and Chinese plugin vehicles). These electric vehicles are far from the sales of the Tesla Model Y or top BYD electric models, but they are leading the industry in terms of EVs from legacy Western automakers. In Europe, the Volkswagen ID.4 is the 3rd best selling EV, only trailing the Tesla Model Y and Tesla Model 3. So, again, these Volkswagen ID. models seem like they are ideal EVs for common folk, and thus great vehicles for the Vatican to use.
Still, though, I’d like to see the Pope ride around in a new ID. Buzz. Maybe the Buzz will join the fleet in 2025. Or maybe the Buzz’s links to the free-spirit culture of the 1970s is just a step too far for the Pope. Who knows?