Vintage Electric Cars Could Replace Central Park’s Horse Carriages


horse-drawn-carriagesNew York City is a world-class metropolis with such famous landmarks as Broadway, Times Square, and of course Central Park, where couples can catch a romantic horse-drawn carriage across the city. But those horses and their drivers may soon be out of a job, as newly-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio may replace the carriages with alternatives, like classic electric cars.

This is good news for animal rights activists, who claim that making the horses walk New York’s streets is dangerous and inhumane, as well as electric car advocates who would love to see more EVs in the Big Apple. But for tourists eager for a ride in the famous horse-drawn carriages, it has meant a rush to Central Park before the carriages potentially disappear forever.

As far as vintage electric cars, there are plenty to choose from, as once upon a time electricity was the preferred method of propulsion for automobiles. Around 1,900, 38% of America’s nearly 34,000 automobiles were powered by electricity, outpaced only by steam; gasoline-powered cars accounted for just 22% of automobile sales. Of course these early electric vehicles are neither cheap to come by nor comfortable to ride in, given the archaic technology used, leading me to believe that replica antique electric cars would be the better way to go.


As much as I love old vehicles and electric cars, however, I never found the horse-drawn carriages to be either inhumane or dangerous. Accidents involving the carriages are fairly uncommon (a website devoted to fighting horse-drawn carriages lists just six accidents since 2006), and horses have been used to pull everything from cannons to carriages for thousands of years now. I’m not saying whether they enjoy it or not, and I can’t attest to the welfare or conditions of the animals, but what happens to a draft horse when there’s no work to be done? Probably not a nice retirement in a heated stall somewhere, I’ll tell you that much.

Complicated issue, this one, and I’m just not sure what side of the argument I fall on. What say you?

Source: The New York Daily News

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • Jason Carpp

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about electric cars. Particularly when compared to the horse. I believe there’s a time and a place for everything. I’m kind of neutral.

  • curly4

    If the horse is replaced by classic electric cars the houses will become excess and have to be slaughtered for it will be to expensive to keep them. Next is the city going buy the cars to replace the horse and carriage?

  • egogg

    I’m for it. Everyone who’s arguing that the horses will be sent to slaughter: perhaps. But it will be the last generation of these horses that will do so. They go to slaughter at the end of painful lives anyway. Why is that an excuse to continue the whole, cruel process indefinitely?

    Back to the electric car issue: I hope they allow newly manufactured electric horseless carriages. I would be intrigued to see who develops one and what it would look like.

    • Evelyn Kubrick

      No it won’t be the last generation. Becoming a carriage horse saves a horse’s life. Now that this option is removed, future generations of horses will be slaughtered because they didn’t have this option.

      • egogg

        I don’t think so. Not every unwanted horse is a cold blooded draft horse. Cite a source and we’ll discuss it.

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