Metro Transit won $1.75 million in federal funding to help buy six battery-electric buses, which will be used on the new Penn Avenue rapid bus service, also known as the C Line, opening in 2019.

The buses will be among the first 60-foot battery-electric articulated buses put into service in the United States, Metro Transit said. The grant from the Federal Transit Administration will pay for a portion of the buses and charging technology at the Heywood Garage and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center. Federal funding will also go toward training mechanic technicians.

Metro Transit's award was among the largest of 51 projects that received grant funding for low- or no-emission vehicle projects from the FTA.

"Bringing battery-electric buses to the Twin Cities will reduce fossil fuel emissions that hurt our health and environment," said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. "I thank our partners at the Federal Transit Administration for this grant funding and encourage Minnesotans to catch a ride on the C Line starting in 2019."

The new Metro Transit buses will be built and delivered by a St. Cloud-based company, New Flyer. With a full charge, the buses can operate for up to 150 miles.

Electric buses come as Metro Transit looks for ways to cut fuel costs and decrease emissions.

"This technology not only reduces pollution, it makes our transit system less vulnerable to drastic increases in fuel prices," a Metropolitan Council statement said.

Karen Zamora