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Drive Electric Dayton to host ride and drive event

Get up close and personal with electric vehicles

So you’ve been thinking about an electric car. You see more and more of them on the road, but you know nothing about them. No worries – Drive Electric Dayton has you covered. In fact, mark April 22 on your calendar; not only is it Earth Day, but DED is hosting a ride and drive event for electric cars in Oakwood.

“This will be our second ride and drive; we hosted one last year in August,” explained DED organizer and Oakwood resident Tim Benford. “We have cars that belong to our members, and hopefully a few loaners from local dealers.

“The public can go for a ride, or with proper license and proof of insurance, they can drive an electric car,” he added. “I guarantee it will be a unique experience.”

Benford, a retired Royal Air Force project manager who was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, then returned to the area permanently, came to electric cars in quite an accidental way.

“I’m not really a ‘car guy’ per se – I like cars, but my brother-in-law and his wife were here visiting from England in 2015. While in Cincinnati, we saw the Tesla store and dropped in. The more I learned, the more I was hooked,” he said.

Hooked so much that as he continued to learn more about EVs and when Tesla announced the smaller Model 3, he immediately ordered one.

While leading the DED group, Benford himself is still waiting for his car, which may arrive this spring.

While spending many hours researching EVs, gathering information from various websites and documents, and contacting various groups, Benford connected with Drive Electric Ohio, and they asked him to be an EV ambassador. This year he helped host a booth at the Dayton Auto Show in February.

Using a Voss Honda-provided Honda Clarity hybrid as a training aid, Benford and others answered questions and helped educate attendees about EVs. His local DED group has grown from 17 to 73 members in the past few months.

There are a variety of reasons that people should consider electric vehicles. “About 30 percent of the carbon dioxide in our environment worldwide is caused by transportation,” he noted. “None of that is coming from electric cars or trucks. Further, they are fun to drive, quiet, smooth and they have tremendous torque. You’ll find they are surprisingly fast,” he added.

Benford also noted that the cost to operate one is about one fifth that of a gasoline-powered vehicle, and they have little maintenance. There’s no tailpipe, clutch, starter, valves or head gasket, so there are fewer systems to repair.

The main EV concern is its range and charging. A number of manufacturers have tackled this; both the Chevrolet Bolt and all Tesla models are now able to go well over 200 miles or more on a charge.

In addition, there are free EV chargers all over Dayton. Drivers can find them at all Dorothy Lane Market stores, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, some AAA offices, local government buildings and some universities. They can also be located by using smart phone apps.

To get up close with electric vehicles or drive one, plan to attend the ride and drive event April 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. on East Schantz Avenue in Oakwood by Mack Hummon Stadium. It will not only be a celebration of Earth Day and electric cars, but also sort of a party for Tim Benford – it’s his birthday!

To learn more about Drive Electric Dayton, go online to https://www.facebook.com/groups/DriveElectricDayton/about/.

To learn more about Drive Electric Ohio, go online to https://www.facebook.com/DriveElectricOhio.

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