Chapel Hill Transit has been awarded a federal grant that will allow the transit organization to introduce electric buses into its fleet.

The $1.382 million grant will go toward the purchase of two electric buses and comes from the Low or No Emissions program.

Chapel Hill Transit director Brian Litchfield said the buses will help the town further meet its sustainability goals.

“We’ve been looking at testing electric vehicles for some time and actually had some funds set aside in our current budget to move forward with potentially leasing a vehicle, but this will allow us to purchase two that we’ll be able to get in likely over the next 24 months,” said Litchfield.

Chapel Hill Transit was one of the first systems in North Carolina to utilize hybrid buses, and it now joins buses servicing Raleigh – Durham International airport and soon Greensboro, according to Litchfield, as one of the first with fully electric buses.

While Litchfield said he hopes this will lead to more electric buses in the future, he called the two buses a good start.

“This is a technology that has been around for a while,” said Litchfield. “Although it’s taken a little longer to catch on within North American transit systems, we’re seeing more and more of them that are out in service and larger and larger systems are utilizing them.”

These particular electric buses have batteries that run for several hundred miles, which Litchfield said should keep them in use for the entire day.