Vintage electric car that aims to replace horse carriages to make its debut -

Vintage electric car that aims to replace horse carriages to make its debut

The antique-style electric car that animal rights advocates want to replace Central Park horse carriages is ready to roll - and making its debut at the New York Auto Show this week.

by Erin Durkin, NY Daily News, April 16, 2014

The vintage car, commissioned by anti-horse carriage group NYCLASS, will be shown off at the Javits Center this Thursday.

Jason Wenig of the exotic car company Creative Workshop has spent the last year designing and building the contraption at his Florida workshop.

“This has got to stand out. This has got to cut through the clutter of one of the busiest cities in the country,” Wenig said. “That to me is the important thing, that this establishes itself as something people are going to want to ride in.”

The car is meant to mimic the turn of the century brass “horseless carriage,” with vintage touches from a boxy frame and bold green finish to not one but two old-fashioned horns - an electronic “ah-hooga” horn and a manual bulb horn.

But it runs on all electric power and is built to comply with modern safety regulations, complete with seat belts.

“We’re really tapping into and capturing a moment of time that’s part of all our history,” Wenig said. “It brings back that period of time, it brings back the nostalgia. It doesn’t have the negative baggage that a lot of people feel with the horses.”

The prototype cost about $450,000 to design and build.

If the advocates - whose push for a ban on the horse-drawn carriages is backed by Mayor de Blasio - get their way, 68 of the electric cars will replace the current fleet of carriages. NYCLASS estimates the price will drop to $150-175,000 if the cars are made on a wider scale.

The cars would ferry up to eight tourists around Central Park - at a top speed of 5 miles per hour, enforced by a GPS device that would kick in whenever they’re inside the park. On the street outside the park, they could go up to 30 miles per hour.

It would have a removable canopy top, though that will not be displayed on the model at the auto show.

Horse carriage supporters say the industry is key to drawing tourists to the city. But NYCLASS executive director Allie Feldman said tourists would be just as glad to shell out to ride in the back of the old-school car.

“The second you see it, you want to jump in and take a ride,” she said.

Wenig, a Brooklyn native, said while he favors banning the horses, he mainly approached the project as a car fanatic and businessman.

He said he’s thrilled to show off the creation to his fellow car guys. “I get goose bumps thinking about it,” he said. “For me this is art in motion.”

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