OAKWOOD —Tim Benford hasn’t paid an electric bill in more than a year.
The 20 solar panels on his roof keep the energy churning in his Oakwood home, and they keep the wheels turning on the electric vehicle he purchased in 2018 as well.
As the founder and president of Drive Electric Dayton, Benford shares the benefits of electric vehicles and clean energy.
“It’s really just trying to get people to know the facts and take the initiative to do it,” said Benford, 74, who spent 20 years in the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force before immigrating to the Miami Valley. He has since retired from a career in software sales, consulting and project management.
Benford is quick to extol the virtues of Sparky, the name of his Tesla Model 3. After more than 3 years and 23,000 miles, he has spent just $300 in maintenance. The electricity to charge Sparky cost only $59 during a recent 914-mile vacation. Electric vehicles are not only cheaper to run, but also safer and more fun to drive, he said.
The number of brands that offer electric vehicles continues to grow, he said, and Drive Electric Dayton promotes all they can by driving electric vehicles in parades, getting them included in auto shows and regularly holding ride-and-drive events in which members bring their vehicles and allow others to view or test drive them.
“I just keep spreading the word,” he said.
Benford, who has two grown children with wife Alison, would also like to begin lobbying for things like additional charging stations, as well as making it easier for manufacturers to build and dealers to stock electric vehicles.
Charlie Campbell has been friends with Benford for more than 30 years, dating from when they both lived in Oakwood. Campbell nominated Benford as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem because of his advocacy to improve the environment.
“It’s focusing on the greenness of this whole area,” Campbell said.