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Ford depot hack reinCARnated

Old style, modern convenience
Old style, modern convenience
Creative Workshop

Horses and cars are linked as long as wagons have wheels and automobiles have horsepower. They all have their pros and cons at times.

Unintended acceleration is not restricted to horsepower on four wheels, though; it happened twice with four-legged horsepower recently. Major US TV networks reported, during the week of April 20, that in two American cities the horse(s) pulling a wagon carrying sightseeing passengers / tourists spooked and ran out of control of the driver for seven blocks in one case.

Perhaps a similar incident happened before, maybe in New York City. Could that be the reason the Big Apple is trying to eliminate the scene you see in the picture above?

Some New Yorkers are preparing to bring its time-honored ICE-age taxi fleet into the age of emission-free transportation, others are trying to hang onto its fleet of horse-drawn carriages, — while still others are trying to connect the history of the depot hack with the future of EVs.

During the transition from horse carriages to motorized vehicles, the new fad in alternative transportation (there is that wide-ranging term again) was called the ‘auto-buggy’. With the popularity of the Model T Ford, the depot hack became the taxi for train travelers, shuttling them from the depot to the hotel.

The depot hack is the forerunner of the station wagon, which morphed into the crossover.

And since several previous articles were about a new Ford, this writer deemed it appropriate to tell you about this ‘old’/new Ford.

As the Daily New reports, this story makes the rounds in NYC (the Big Apple): “A well-funded animal-rights advocacy group, NYClass, proposes that the 68 [horse-drawn] carriages (translate with Google) now operating in and around Central Park be replaced with the so-called eCarriage, which would operate at 5 mph in the park, to replicate the open-air experience for tourists as closely as possible--minus the clip-clop and the odor [and pollution problems] of horse manure.”

“The prototype electric car shown [at the NY Auto Show] is the size of a seven-passenger full-size SUV, seats eight, weighs 7,500 pounds, and rides on 26-inch truck tires. It uses a number of existing components from other vehicles, including the Ford F-450 heavy-duty commercial truck.”

“It qualifies, according to Jason Wenig of the Creative Workshop [the manufacturer] in Florida, as a Multi-Purpose Vehicle in the NHTSA's 10,000-pound weight class --and will meet all relevant legal standards for that size of commercial vehicle, including seat belts for passengers.”

“The ‘eCarriage’ would have a heater to keep passengers warm, as well as a convertible top to protect against rain and snow.” (A Surrey with a fringe on top?)

“Its 63-kilowatt (84-horsepower) electric motor drives the rear wheels and is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, giving it 100 miles of range.” [more than one day’s travel]

“Its maximum speed is 30 miles per hour, but a so-called "geo-fence" would restrict it to 5 mph inside Central Park--"thus continuing the tradition of horse-drawn carriages causing traffic congestion in and around midtown," as New York Intelligencer noted acerbically.”

Chicago and Santa Fe have expressed interest in ordering the vehicles as well, beyond the 68 that New York City might require. Halifax – Quebec – Toronto – Vancouver —— anyone?
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This being a short history lesson in alternative transportation, we encourage you to use the links to inform yourself of things our grandparents were so familiar with.
History is connected to the future, separated only by the short-lived presence – such as the E-modified Model A-like hack displayed at the recent New York Auto Show; (photograph by Julia Xantos/ NY Daily News) - Some love it, some hate it.
Striving for alternative transportation is a sign of society going forward, no matter what the reason, the occasion, or the style.

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