With things looking more and more bleak for Central Park's horse-drawn hansom cabs, New York recently got a sneak peek at the electric carriages that could replace them. Florida-based Creative Workshop unveiled its horseless alternative, the e-Carriage, last week at the New York Auto Show. While the vehicle might look like an antique car with brass fittings and an old-school leather seat, the engine underneath is completely electric.
Animal Rights Group NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets) commissioned the model prototype in hopes of creating a permanent replacement for Central Park horse carriages. Rather than forcing horses to cart around tourists and New Yorkers, NYCLASS says its electric cab could be a much more humane and greener solution.
According to The Verge, the e-Carriage has a 100-mile range and can last the entire 16-hour shift that carriage drivers work currently. But while it can go on for miles and miles it won’t go particularly fast. It only has a max speed of 30 miles per hour and GPS sensors would automatically lock it down to five miles per hour in Central Park.
The Central Park horse carriage ban has been a hotly politicized battle ever since New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his disdain for hansom cabs this January. It’s a controversial topic because removing the horses would essentially put all the Central Park cab drivers out of work. One side of the issue calls attention to animal cruelty and the fact that too many horses collapse on the street as a result of being worked to exhaustion by their owners. On the other side, Hollywood actor Liam Neeson has come out in support of the hansom cab industry, calling it part of the New York experience and arguing that the horses are well cared for.
Since the beginning of the year, NYCLASS has contributed over $1.3 million to de Blasio’s anti-horse carriage campaign. Now it’s put another $450,000 into the electric carriage revealed last week. If a horse ban comes to pass, NYCLASS plans to open a factory in Brooklyn or Queens. From this local manufacturing shop, it hopes to construct more of the electric carriages, which will sell for roughly $150,000 to $200,000 each.
via The Verge
Images © The Creative Workshop