Here in New York City, politicians, activists, and celebrities are renewing a hundred-year-old battle between automobiles and horse-drawn carriages. This time, however, the war isn’t over the future of personal transportation: it’s about the 68 horse-drawn carriages that offer tourists meandering rides around Central Park.

The rides are a New York mainstay, but opponents argue that the long days on busy city streets are dangerous and inhumane. To fight this battle, activists are turning to the same weapon that was used a hundred years ago: an electric, brass-era horseless carriage. And after a year of work, the vehicle has been unveiled for the first time at the New York International Auto Show on Manhattan’s west side — just blocks from the stables that the Central Park horses call home.

At first glance, the so-called “Horseless eCarriage” looks like it might belong in a kitschy Disneyland ride. But step up close, and it’s clear that this is no tacky, turn-of-the-century facade on a modern vehicle. “It’s a labor of love,” says Jason Wenig, the passionate, straight-talking Brooklyn native behind the vehicle. His Florida-based classic car restoration shop, The Creative Workshop, was commissioned to build the vehicle by NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets), an animal rights group that’s leading the charge against the Central Park horse-carriage industry.