The 2015 Tesla Model S 70D was named the AAA Green Car of the Year, the auto club announced today. The Tesla is featured with 80 other green vehicles in a comprehensive report published annually by the Automobile Club of Southern California and its Automotive Research Center.


AAA’s top three green vehicles, all electrics, were announced today. The BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium round out the top three.


“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 national managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “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.”


Top 2016 AAA Green Cars of the Year and their point totals:


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 research center’s evaluators divided the vehicles into six categories, crunched the numbers, and identified winners in each category,” said Nielsen. “They also recognized winners by price. 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 types, size and price. 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 the public.  


To help car buyers and enthusiasts looking for the latest information on fuel-efficient vehicles and low-emission technology, researchers reviewed battery electric vehicles, compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) vehicles, clean diesels, hybrids, partial zero emission vehicles (PZEVs), and vehicles with high fuel economy. Vehicles were grouped into categories according to size, body type and three price ranges. They were scored by the Los Angeles-based Automotive Research Center in real-world evaluations (acceleration, handling, ride comfort, turning, cargo capacity, etc.).


Tested vehicles were selected based on emission certifications from the California Air Resources Board and U.S. EPA fuel economy ratings. Tests were performed at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. and on Southern California roads. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the EPA and the Automobile Club of Southern California developed the testing procedures.