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Ripon Unified secures electric utility vehicles
The first of the Ripon Unified eTuatara vehicles rolled into the parking lot Tuesday greeted by Superintendent Ziggy Robeson and Director of Facilities Operations & Safety Service Andy Strickland along with his staff.

The first of the eTuatara electric utility vehicles arrived Tuesday at the Ripon Unified School District office.

The utility carts were made possible by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District’s Public Benefit Grant.

RUSD Superintendent Ziggy Robeson indicated that funding for the program was allocated proportionally based upon the population among the three regions – North, Central, and South – with applications considered on a first come first serve basis per region.

“Ripon Unified acted quickly, and as a result received the grant funding for five vehicles,” she said of the eTuatara, which is a purpose-built electric vehicle with steel construction and standard features.

This electric utility vehicle operates on a battery management system and drive train designed to outperform and outdistance an internal combustion engine. Robeson noted that the company guarantees that the battery system for its “endurance, reliability and resilience for years to come.”

However, Ripon Unified purchased the extended battery warranty to ensure continuous function ability, she added.

“I am excited to get our utility cart. It will definitely make things easier for doing grounds with equipment such as transporting shovels, rakes, sprinklers and trash removal,” Larry Moreno said.

He’s the custodian at Ripon Elementary School. Moreno and his custodial and maintenance staff plan to use the all-electric expedition vehicles to assist with landscaping, repair work, and refuse collection.

The vehicles will be distributed to the school campuses with the greatest need, Robeson said.