Looking for an earth-friendly car in honor of Earth Day? According to AAA, there is a clear winner on the market: Tesla’s Model S. The Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center (ARC) is responsible for producing the green guide for AAA.. The Auto Club released its 2016 guide to green cars, which helps consumers choose the best green car for their needs. The Green Car Guide not only defines what a green car is, but also explains the differences between different kinds of green vehicles.
The Tesla Model S was the Club’s clear choice as best car on the road. The Model is is the most environmentally friendly, largely due to its excellent battery life, although the Club did say there are some gasoline-powered options that also have a minimal environmental impact.
The Tesla Model S is one the most expensive cars on the list, starting at $70,000. Although this is cost-prohibitive for some drivers, the Auto Club still gave it high marks. “The Tesla Model S is a great car – great ride quality, it’s very quiet,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “It’s electric so it has zero emissions.”
The Tesla Model S 70D was named its Car of the Year for 2016. The Auto Club, like many drivers, found that the car transcended the stereotypes and expectations for EV cars. The 17-inch center display was a pleasant surprise, with its ability to handle navigation, internet browsing, audio and vehicle settings. It also has a quick and smooth acceleration that drivers love but don’t expect in EV cars.
The runner up and third place finisher are good options that are slightly less expensive. In second place is the BMW i3, which starts at about $41,000. The BMW was rated highly for its lightweight materials and sophisticated electronics, and for being the most efficient car on the market.
The third place finisher is the Volkswagen e-Golf, which starts at a base price of about $35,000. Along with the Model S, the VW and BMW scored above 85 in the Auto Club’s 100-point system. The Model S scored 92.49, the BMW scored 88.47 and the VW scored 87.09.
The Audi A3 Sportback finished just behind BMW with an 88 score. Its plug-in hybrid gets about 17 miles of zero emissions in electric-only operation.
Among gasoline vehicles, the Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium received high marks. It can be purchased as PZEV, or partial zero emission vehicle, which is the closest to zero emissions that a gasoline engine can get. The Outback was praised for its safety features. Drivers who want the feel of an SUV without the gas-guzzling reputation would be happy with the Subaru.
The Guide gives consumers the specifications on every option on the market, including hybrids, fuel-efficient gas, partial zero emission vehicles, clean diesel and hydrogen fuel cell cars
The 2016 Guide has a new section on safety and advanced driver assistance programs that the cars now have. It also ranks cars according to price categories: $0 to $30,000; $30,001 to $50,000; and above $50,000. The Guide is available online for free.