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Top Green Vehicle Is Tesla S, According To Newest AAA Green Car Guide

Green Car Guide

-- The Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center has announced the Tesla S P85 as its top-scoring green car pick this year.  The Palo Alto-based automaker’s car is featured with more than 80 other green vehicles in the latest AAA Green Car Guide.  The top-scoring and best value green vehicles were revealed today at the motor club’s historic headquarters on Figueroa.


The newest 140-page AAA guide contains reviews of hybrids, battery electric vehicles, compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) vehicles, clean diesels, partial zero emission vehicles (PZEVs), and vehicles with high fuel economy to help those in the market for a vehicle.  These vehicles were tested in 13 categories and given a score. The report also holds comprehensive information about low-polluting and fuel-efficient vehicles.


In describing the top-scoring green vehicle the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center Manager and Chief Engineer Steve Mazor said, “The Tesla Model S is an incredible car. It’s the fastest green car we’ve ever tested: it rides and handles very well; it’s extremely quiet and stops on a dime.”


While the Tesla S has a 265-mile range, even with a standard 240-volt charger, it can take a long time to fully re-charge, according to Mazor.  “Nonetheless, the Model S was our top-scoring vehicle this year by a wide margin.” 


When price is factored in, the 2014 Chevy Spark 1LT tops the list as the green car with the best value, said Mazor.  “It’s priced under $15,000, and averages about 30 miles per gallon, making it an affordable green vehicle,” he added.


“When car-shopping consumers can find green vehicles powered by gasoline, a combination of gas and electricity, flex fuel (a mix of gas and ethanol), compressed natural gas, or diesel fuel, making a decision can be daunting,” said Mazor. “But the AAA Green Car Guide can help drivers sort out what’s important and simplify the car-buying process.”


Green vehicles offer a way to save money on Southern California’s high gas prices, which often exceed $4 a gallon, he added.


Consumers can now choose high-quality low-emission vehicles and hybrids ranging in vehicle category, price and size from the Tesla, to a Nissan Leaf, to a GM Cadillac to a Chevrolet Spark, according to Mazor. 


The Top-Scoring Green Car vehicles in the 2014 AAA Green Car Guide are:

1.Tesla S P85

2.Toyota RAV4 EV

3.Audi A7 TDI Quattro Tiptronic

4.Lexus GS 450h

      5.Nissan Leaf


The Top Best Green Car Value vehicles in the 2014 AAA Green Car Guide are:


1.Chevrolet Spark 1LT

2.Hyundai Elantra GLS

3.Nissan Versa SV

4.Scion iQ

5.Nissan Versa Note SV


ARC engineers and specialists evaluated the vehicles in 13 categories (including emissions, mpg, acceleration, handling, interior noise, ride quality, and cargo capacity). Each category was scored on a basis of 0-10 points.  Scores were totaled to determine top vehicles.  Then, each vehicle’s total score was divided by its as-tested price to determine its cost per point for best value.  The guide lists vehicle specifications, test scores, data and observations in one-page summaries. 


Tested vehicles were selected based on emission certifications from the California Air Resources Board and fuel economy ratings from the U.S. EPA.  Tests were performed at the ARC in Diamond Bar, the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and on Southern California roads.  Testing procedures were developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Auto Club.


For those who don’t know a CNG from a PZEV, the report also explains for consumers:


  • Differences between green cars and the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • How to choose one that best fits a consumer’s needs.
  • EV charging 101
  • Fuel economy tips, alternative fuels and automotive acronyms


The guide also will soon be available at no charge at Auto Club branches while supplies last.  

More information can be found at

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.