Nashua is replacing two buses powered by diesel engines with electric hybrid vehicles.
The company that developed the hybrids, BAE Systems, say they will avoid burning 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 50 tons a year.
Nashua won a federal grant of $1.1 million from the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program. State officials say the new hybrid buses were partly paid for by New Hampshire's share of a settlement with Volkswagen. Each of the buses cost approximately $680,000, according to Camille Pattison, the Transportation Manager in Nashua.
She says she hopes the buses will help people transition away from their cars, and reduce the city's carbon footprint.
“If you’re used to taking your car, it is a hard transition to suddenly decide to go another way,” said Pattison. “Sometimes it’s as simple as you don’t have your car that day and so you take the bus and you’re like this is actually a very good experience and now maybe I’ll consider doing it more so.”
Patrick Herlihy, the director of Aeronautics, Rail and Transit at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, says he'd like to see more hybrid buses in New Hampshire.
“We certainly want to have as many of these types of buses in our transit systems throughout the state, but it really is a start and the program is really competitive. So we’ll try, we’ll try each year to get more of these types of buses.”
The buses will officially start operating in Nashua in the next few weeks.