Originally published on CleanTechnica.
The AAA Green Car of the Year this year was the Tesla Model S 70D. As the leading green car, Tesla Model S 70D is featured with 80 other green vehicles in 2016, but tops them all according to AAA. The AAA Green Car Guide is a comprehensive report published annually by the largest member of the AAA federation – the Automobile Club of Southern California and its Automotive Research Center.
The Tesla Model S 70D along with the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium are the top three on the list. Of course, I am wondering where the Nissan LEAF is …? (Remember that the LEAFs were chosen to shuttle everyone in Paris to the COP21 talks, saving about 18 tons of CO2 from being emitted.)
“The Tesla Model S 70D has a 240-mile range, room for five, excellent power and steering, and fast charge capability,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, in a statement about the new report. “Add sleek styling, great acceleration and an air of sophistication that separates it from other alternative-fueled vehicles and you see why the Model S 70D was our top vehicle this year.”
The 2016 AAA Green Car of the Year top 5 and the points they earned are as follows:
- 2015 Tesla Model S 70D — 92.49
- 2014 Hatchback BMW i3 — 88.47
- 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium — 87.09
- 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Premium — 83.49
- 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium — 81.96
The BMW i3 won in the $30,000 to $50,000 car class as well as the sub-compact car class.
The AAA press release shares that 13 evaluations are used, scored on 0–10 points, with scores totaled to determine top vehicles. Topics evaluated include vehicle specifications, test scores, data, and observations. The assessments note each EV’s strengths.
“The research center’s evaluators divided the vehicles into six categories, crunched the numbers, and identified winners in each category,” added Nielsen. “They also recognized winners by price,” he said. “The Tesla took three awards – Best Green Car over $50,000, the large car category winner and the AAA Green Car of the Year. In other categories, the best green car under $30,000 was the Mazda 3S Grand Touring, and the best green pickup is the Ford F-150 Supercab Lariat.”
“Today car shoppers can choose high-quality, zero-to-low-emission vehicles in a growing selection of body type and size and price. The AAA Green Car Guide is designed to help give consumers research-based information and tips to find the vehicle that best suits their needs and navigate the green car marketplace with confidence,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automotive Research Center. “AAA’s expertise along with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s nearly half-century of automotive research with alternative fuel vehicles continues to benefit AAA members and the public today.”
“Green vehicles offer motorists a way to save on energy costs,” she added. A recent AAA member green vehicle survey found that green car issues are important across generations with millennials and non-millennials saying they’d consider buying a green vehicle because of fuel costs and environmental impact. The majority of respondents in the AAA survey also said they are interested in a green vehicle when shopping for a new car and 82 percent stated it was important to understand green technology.
Whether all of these vehicles can be considered green is a subjective matter, and many of our readers may not be on board with non-electrics being on the list. That’s also why CleanTechnica has its own car of the year award.
Images via 2016 Green Car Guide