Here’s the Electric Car That Could Replace NYC’s Horse-and-Carriages

April 17, 2014 | Andy Cush

Bill de Blasio’s plan to ban horse-and-carriage rides in NYC has hit some setbacks, but the mayor says he remains committed to getting the despondent animals off the street. Today at the New York Auto Show, the anti-carriage organization NYCLASS unveiled the electric, vintage-style car it has long touted as an alternative.

“My distinct honor and challenge has been to design a vehicle that celebrates the nostalgia and romance of the early 1900s, while eliminating a lot of the not-so-great realities of that time,” said Jason Wenig of The Creative Workshop, the firm that manufactured the car.

It’s much bigger than we expected. Wenig compared the car’s dimensions to those of a contemporary full-size SUV, which feels about right. NYCLASS claims eight-passenger capacity, but six might fit more comfortably. Two bench-style seats face each other in the car’s rear, atop large, exposed wheels and a host of vintagey brass accoutrements, chief of which is the goofy manual Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-style horn. But it won’t exactly be flying around Central Park: the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive electric car packs 84 horsepower and tops out at about 30 miles per hour.

Also on hand at the unveiling was Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who supports the horse-and-carriage ban. After thanking Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivierto for their leadership, he announced passing the legislature and introducing the cars as a replacement was only a “matter of time.”

“I believe New York City is about being progressive. And being progressive also means to protect our animal rights,” he added. “That’s why I’m standing here and saying having dozens of horses going through accidents in the streets of New York City is unacceptable.”

Your move, Liam Neeson.

(Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)