An electric-powered vehicle harking back to the horseless carriages of 100 years ago has been unveiled at the New York Auto Show as a potential alternative to the horse-drawn carriage trade around Central Park.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is pressing ahead with plans to end the iconic trade because he says inner-city streets are no place for horses.
Opponents of the trade have campaigned for years to end the trade, arguing it is cruel and risky to have horses work in the city. Industry supporters argue the horses are well looked after and say the industry is a city icon.
One of the groups opposed to the horse-drawn trade, NYCLASS, used the auto show to unveil its “Horseless eCarriage” as an alternative to the horse-drawn carriages.
The electric car commissioned by the group was built by The Creative Workshop (TCW), a Florida-based specialty car manufacturer.
The prototype is an electric lithium-ion powered car that can seat eight adult passengers in the same style as a horse-drawn carriage.
NYCLASS says the vehicle blends early 20th century style, nostalgia and romance with 21st century eco-technology, comfort and safety.
The group said it met safety standards and society’s desire for clean transportation. The rear-wheel-drive, 84-horsepower vehicle has a top speed of 30mph and a range of 100 miles.
The Creative Workshop’s president and owner, Jason Wenig, said: “We’re confident the vehicle we’ve created is a worthy successor to the original brass-era horseless carriage that roamed the canyons of New York City back in the day.
“The Horseless eCarriage celebrates the style and personality of that era.”
The cars would be manufactured locally in New York, creating jobs and bringing a new industry to the city, NYCLASS said.
It is understood the prototype cost $US450,000 to build, but production on a larger scale would bring that cost down to roughly a third of that.
The Horseless eCarriage is said to be about the same size as an original touring car or depot hack of the early 20th century era.
“It’s an open design with a removable top to increase the passenger experience,” Wenig said.
“There are styling elements that underscore the design of the era – oversized windshield, large exposed wheels, period lighting and of course, brass. It definitely reflects and celebrates an era that has amazing historical significance to New York City and to car lovers everywhere.”