Going electric?

Dayton’s first electric car show

By Tor Simms

Photo: This original 1931 Ford truck will be completely rebuilt into a fully electric automobile

Ray Slone has motor oil running through his veins. Some of his earliest memories are of picking up cigarette butts in his father’s auto body shop. His mother drove a purple 1969 429 Mustang on the drag strip. Cars are his passion—so it was only natural for him to want to share that passion, which eventually motivated him to launch his own television show, Cruise’n with E-Rider.

But let’s back up. Slone went with the body shop stuff for a while until he settled down and his wife demanded that he get a “real job.” For 16 years, he worked for a company that sold computer parts. When it dissolved, Slone decided to get back into the car scene again and do what he loved.

It all started when Slone and some friends decided to do an automobile-related charity event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. While they were planning the event, they decided to get the biggest star they could in the auto world—and they did. My Classic Car host Dennis George was on hand for the event and ironically enough, he helped to set the events in motion that led to the E-Rider car show.

George told Slone and his friends what the area needed was something on public access to let people know there were car shows going on in the area. So Slone and friends went to DATV and the Miami Valley Cable Council and told them they wanted to do a local car cruising show. They took some training from the Miami Valley Cable Council, then rented some equipment and became local producers.

“We just started talking to people at car shows,” Slone says. “Then we would do montages of cars to local bands during the show and people dug it, and it just kept growing from there. About seven or eight years ago some of our friends in the car business approached us about sponsoring the show on television, so we contacted Fox 45 during their first digital split and they had bandwidth available. Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. has been ours ever since.”

The success of the show hasn’t gone to Slone’s head. Since it all began with a charity car show, Slone and his crew put on a charity car show every year for the Children’s Medical Center; this will be the eleventh year. They raise $3,000 to 4,000 and collect more than 200 toys every year.

This year, Slone will have another event: The E-Rider car show. It’s the first electric and hybrid, car, truck and bike show.

“You see, things have changed technologically,” Slone explains. “When cars first started out, you had electric cars and combustion cars right beside each other and no one knew who was going to win out. At that time the combustion motor won out because it could produce more power and its power source was more readily available, but now it is much different. Ohio State [Univeresity] has an electric motorcycle that goes almost 400 miles an hour and the racecar driver Don Garlits has an electric dragster that goes 200 miles an hour. I’m trying to help people understand the value of the electric vehicle right now.”

Proceeds from the new E-Rider Car Show will go towards a new custom electric truck—a 1931 Ford. This particular vehicle was carefully chosen for a reason.

“We figured we’d build an electric truck that looked like an old one. We’re trying to break the mold,” Slone says.

This is nothing new for the E-Rider. Every two years, they do a project vehicle that they build internally on the show, so when a buddy approached them with an old truck frame, everything just clicked.

“The truck will have a wood bed on it, and the original cab, but it will have a bunch of batteries in the back and the motor will be electric,” Slone says. He estimates they will need about $8,000 to complete the project.

Highlights of the show on June 14 will include a presentation from Carillon Historical Society that focuses on Dayton’s energy past and also touches on the history of The Dayton Electric, an electric car manufactured in Dayton from 1911 to 1915.

A-Able will supply displays that show how to charge at home. The Regional Transit Authority will be offering free rides on its new electric bus. Joe’s Cycle Shop will bring electric motorcycles. PA electric, Clean Fuels Ohio and the Dayton Electric Auto Association will also be in attendance.

Slone says he doesn’t think of himself as a trendsetter when it comes to electric vehicles; he thinks it’s just common sense.

“If you could cruise longer and go faster why wouldn’t you?” he asks. “It’s as quiet as can be and it has no impact on the environment. After we build the truck I’m going to get it in every car show that I can. I hope to bridge the gap between the gasoline and the electric car people.”

The E-Rider Electric Car Show will be held June 14 in the Village of North Clayton, 4810 Bolzano Boulevard. For more information, please call 937.837.2897 or visit cruisenwitherider.weebly.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Tor Simms at TorSimms@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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