While state leaders have occasionally been known to appear at a photo call in some modest method of transport, official duties usually see them in something a little more substantial.
President Obama, for example, rides around in a heavy-duty Cadillac nicknamed “The Beast”. It’s built on a truck chassis and features bullet- and bomb-proof panels and glass.
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili recently swapped his own armoured Mercedes for something a little greener–a Nissan Leaf, to be precise.
The carefully-filmed journey in the president’s electric car comes amid concerns the president had been living a rather opulent lifestyle, building a palace and buying two jets for official use.
What better way to show you’re not as extravagant as people make out by running from the palace to the airport in a zero-emissions vehicle?
Usually, says the Daily Mail, the president’s state limo is surrounded by Jeeps and bodyguards, but he now says he travels without security–apart from his wife, apparently.
President Saakashvili was the subject of an assassination attempt in 2005, and has courted controversy more recently, remaining president despite his own political party losing the country’s last election.
We’ve seen other leaders trying out electric cars before, albeit in different circumstances. During the Libyan conflict in 2011, Libyan rebels discovered dictatorial despot Muammar el-Qadaffi’s custom electric Fiat 500.
There’s no hint as to when Saakashviki will step down, but when he does he’ll lose the option of that armoured car and collection of bodyguards.
Maybe the Nissan Leaf is simply preparing him for a quieter, more low-key lifestyle to come…
This article originally appeared at Green Car Reports.