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Father, son share love of electric cars with Corvallis

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Robert Eager drove nearly 1,500 miles from Albuquerque, N.M. to Corvallis in his Tesla S and he never stopped at a gas station.

Robert and his father, Walt Eager of Corvallis, showed off their electric vehicles at the Corvallis Farmers Market on Saturday morning to provide voluntary demonstrations and give people rides in their own cars to show off the benefits of electric vehicles in honor of National Drive Electric Week.

The pair were not paid or endorsed by any electric vehicle companies or organizations. For the Eagers, the demonstrations are about a love of engineering and looking out for future generations.

“It’s about my grandchildren and everyone else’s grandchildren,” said Walt, an 83-year-old retired mechanical engineer. “We have to do this. We’re dumping fossil fuel exhaust into the atmosphere here in Corvallis. This is simply our concern about our society. We have to shift to electric because we can’t keep doing things the way we have.”

Walt believes so much in the idea of sustainability that he and his wife, Marielu, built a sustainable home in Corvallis. The couple influenced the next generation as Robert has a degree in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University and an electrical engineering degree from the University of Mexico.

“We’re an engineering family,” Robert said. “I don’t know if it’s genetic but we like tinkering with things and building things. What we’re doing is a natural outgrowth of that. This is the next logical step in transportation.” 

But it’s also fun to drive, Robert said.

“I was never a car enthusiast before I got this car,” he said, referring to the Tesla S. “My enthusiasm about electric cars and that belief of it being the right way to do things made me want to share my experiences with others so they can get that personal insight into what it is. Personal experience is what really drives people to embrace a new technology. With any new technology, there is resistance because of the unknown. What we’re doing is trying to break down those unknown barriers.”

Nathan Bruttell is a reporter for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 541-758-9548 or nathan.bruttell@lee.net

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