New York's horse drawn carriages to be replaced by horseless carriages

Remember way back in the early 20th century when that new fangled invention called the automobile was also called a "horseless carriage?"

That name's making a comeback, and in New York of all places.

A "horseless eCarriage" that will probably replace the iconic horse drawn "tourist carriages" in New York City's Central Park was presented to the public last week. The all-electric vehicle draws its "horsepower" from a lithium-ion battery that gives it a range of 100 miles before a recharge.

The horseless eCarriage was made by Creative Workshop, a specialty automotive restoration, coachbuilding and customization firm based in Florida. The firm was commissioned to design and build the horseless eCarriage by NYClass, a non-profit firm that says it's committed to ending the allegedly "inhumane" NYC carriage horse industry.

NYClass claims horses are subjected to inhumane and dangerous conditions and should be retired to sanctuaries and replaced with vehicles like the horseless eCarriage. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged during his 2013 election campaign to eliminate horse carriages in the city.

The Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that manages Central Park, opposes the horseless eCarriage. Conservancy president and CEO Doug Blonsky noted that "40 million people visit Central Park each year, including runners, bicyclists, kids and dog owners. Adding vehicles to the mix will make the park less safe for all of them and increase congestion."

The horseless eCarriage is an all rear-wheel-drive, brass-era-type vehicle that can reach a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. It can sit eight people per trip.

Jason Wenig, president and owner of The Creative Workshop and the eCarriage's designer, described the vehicle as an open design with a removable top to increase the passenger experience.

"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," he said.

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