AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Amherst County Public Schools started off the school year with their first two electric school buses. Earlier Wednesday administration, students, and program partners celebrated the arrival of the buses.

The buses were purchased from Virginia’s exclusive Thomas Built Buses Dealer, Sonny Merryman. They used money awarded to the county from American Electric Power.

The two electric buses began running at the beginning of the September. Each bus can travel 130 miles on an eight hour charge. They produce zero emissions and offer significant operation and maintenance savings.

“So industry shows that it’s about a 60% difference in operational costs, we are going to do our own cost benefit analysis to determine exactly the cost savings” said Dr. Tim Hoden the Chief Operations Officer at Amherst County Public Schools.

Through American Electric Power’s electric school bus program the utility company covered the cost to make the buses electric as well as the chargers, allowing the school to purchase the buses at the same cost as a traditional school bus.

Amherst County Public Schools will add a third electric bus at the beginning of next year. In the upcoming months if they continue to see enough cost savings from the switch they will look into adding to their electric fleet in the future.