COLUMBUS, OH - The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) is adding six hybrid-electric passenger buses to its fleet. 

The buses are expected to be integrated into the current fleet and "enter full revenue service" in June, COTA said. 

The new buses feature a 48-percent increase in fuel efficiency, a battery-powered electric motor and diesel-fueled combustion engine, regenerative brakes that re-power the motor battery when pressed, an LED lighting system used inside and outside the vehicle, and a smoother ride because the electric motors don't require shifting, COTA said. 

The buses were purchased with the assistance of $2.1 million in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program funds through the combined efforts of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). 

"This is hopefully the future for transit systems," Strickland said. 

Because COTA's new hybrid buses use power more efficiently, they will use less energy and fuel while significantly reducing carbon emissions. With LED lighting used inside and outside of the vehicle, the lights will consume 85 percent less energy and last 35 times longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs.