As far as strange finds go, we’ve managed to gather a pile of peculiar vehicles over the years for the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column. Our loyal and brave readers have joined us in investigating everything from a Pepto Bismol pink electric tiny-car to an inflatable electric jet ski. But we may have just out-weirded ourselves this time with what appears to be an electric popemobile!
For those that haven’t yet had the pleasure of learning about it, the popemobile is a special car with a glass enclosure in back designed for ferrying around the Pope in public so crowds of people can see him when he makes state visits. To be honest, the real thing is actually about as weird looking as our unofficial popemobile here.
I’m guessing that today’s find isn’t quite up to the same standards as a real popemobile, though that might be because it’s not technically a popemobile at all. I think its meant to be an old-fashioned horse-drawn hearse, yet brought into the modern times with an electric drivetrain.
But the sheer amount of visible space in back definitely gives this thing more of a popemobile vibe. Plus, that’s a lot happier of an image than the vehicle’s true use, which the vendor’s page bluntly describes as meant to “ferry a corpse to a cemetery”.
The Chinese vendor seems to have spared no expense here, using galvanized tube construction for rust-proofing, non-collapsing “high precision sponge” for the seats, and “high quality leather” for the upholstery.
The entire contraption is said to weigh around 500 kg (1,100 lb) and rolls on special customized large bearings.
Power is provided by a modest 2 kW brushless motor, and braking is accomplished with either a hydraulic hand brake or foot brake.
The spec sheet lists the speed at between 80-100 km/h (50-62 mph), but that has to be a mistake. Or at least, I really hope that’s a mistake. This thing seems like pieces of the spray-painted gold trim would start blowing off at those speeds, and I can’t imagine the ride would be very comfortable for any Popes that are along for the adventure.
Priced at between US $2,980 to $8,950, it seems that the level of glamor and outfitting might contribute quite significantly to the price.
If it were me though, I’d deck this thing out completely. How often do you get a chance to own your own popemobile?!
It may not be the most practical vehicle we’ve ever found (though it’s hardly the least). But I still think there’s definite charm here. Who knows, it may even make a great part of your next Halloween costume!
Author: Micah Toll