Tesla Model S 70D Takes Home Green Car Award From AAA

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:

  1. 2015 Tesla Model S 70D — 92.49
  2. 2014 Hatchback BMW i3 — 88.47
  3. 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium — 87.09
  4. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Premium — 83.49
  5. 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

Related Stories:

Tesla Model S Car & Driver Calls Tesla Model S 70D “Car Of The Century”

Tesla Model S 70D Review (Exclusive)

BMW i3 One Year Review

Nissan Leaf Identified As World’s Preferred, Unrivaled, Non-Luxury Compact Car

5 thoughts on “Tesla Model S 70D Takes Home Green Car Award From AAA

  1. AAA lost it. i3 has far better efficiency than Tesla S70D. Heck, even SparkEV and much of low cost EV are better. One might argue SparkEV is limited availability, but then they also include almost as limited eGolf. Below is a better ranking based on EPA MPGe

    i3 (124 MPGe)
    SparkEV (119)
    eGolf (116)
    Leaf (114)
    iMiev (112)
    SoulEV (105)
    Tesla S70D (101)

    1. You need to read the article and stop being such a sanctimonious pedant:

      “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 Model S was chosen because it’s much bigger, sexier, and more powerful. It has the flexibility and the green credentials.

      It might not be the most efficient over all, but if you honestly thing that most Americans will buy Chevy Sparks or BMW i3s…you’re off your rocker.

      1. I read that part to mean “we at AAA are off our rockers and will randomly pick any car”. If they believe what they wrote as justification,

        Why is Leaf not mentioned when it sold more than Tesla?

        Why is eGolf on the list when it performs poorly while far better performing SparkEV is not?

        Why is VW eGolf is on the list while even longer range Leaf is not?

        In fact, why are gas cars on the list while much of the EV are not, especially Leaf? If you say “sales”, then why is Tesla #1 (or even on the list) while Leaf isnt’?

        You need to get off your Tesla high and see this for what it is. Complete crock of sh*t. At least my list gives objective metric what would help consumers decide on efficiency, unlike this meaningless drivel.

        1. First of all, for someone who openly admits to being a Chevy-fanboi…you’re remarkably unaware of the hypocrisy and innate bias in your comments… suggesting to me that I am incapable of being objective in such matters, only serves to emphasise just how irrelevant your opinions have become on these public forums…

          Secondly, the Tesla was chosen because it’s a better car; not because it sold more…it’s just the best balance of price and performance, for an EV.

          If it was all about sales, then the Leaf would have won; if it was all about performance, the range-topping Tesla would have won…

          You’re clearly just a sad little man with an incredible inferiority complex…you need to see somebody about that.

          1. As a Tesla zealot, you fail to see anything beyond Tesla being #1. Look at #3 that I often point out and you’re still going to say it’s an objective list? You are truly a sad little zealot in your own little world. You really should see someone, and I’m not talking about other zealots at Tesla temple.

            As a Tesla fanboi myself (but not a zealot), I’m not so insecure about Tesla superiority to justify it being #1 in every freaking list. In fact, it’s embarrassing to have it #1 in this ridiculous list. It’s smalled mined people like you who are so insecure with yourself that you have to justify anything and everything Tesla to be #1 by making up bogus subjective criteria, whether that’s applicable or not.

            Here’s the fact: Tesla as least efficient EV scoring #1 in GREEN CAR list is ridiculous. Until you see this, you are living blind. When you’re so blinded, you can lie to yourself with anything and see everything not praising Tesla temple as unaware and hypocritical. Your opinion means nothing. It HURTS Tesla when such moronic opinions are expressed in comments, yet you probably fail to see that, too.

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