Published on June 20th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


The Greenest Car? According to AAA, It’s The Tesla Model S

June 20th, 2014 by  


Going green means different things to different people. For some, it means only eating organic, locally grown food, while for others it means riding a bicycle instead of driving a car. For those who can’t ditch their car for a bike though, what’s the greenest car you can buy?

According to AAA, it’s none other than the Tesla Model S.

AAA’s SoCal branch ranked several green vehicles to find out which one was the greenest, and it’s little surprise that the American-made Model S topped the charts. It’s long range electric drivetrain and access to free, fast-filling Superchargers makes it the best EV you can buy right now.

Steve Mazor, AAA’s Automotive Research Center Manager and Chief Engineer said that;

“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 there are concerns about cost and charging time outside of the Supercharger network, the Model S is the greenest car you can buy right now, at least according to AAA.

But what if you can’t afford a Model S? Well AAA ranked several other green options as well, with second place falling to the Toyota RAV4 EV, an admitted compliance car that ends production this year. Following that was the Audi Q7 TDI, followed by the Lexus 450h, and finally the Nissan Leaf.

Looking for more value in your green car? AAA says that the greenest value vehicle in none other than the Chevy Spark, which retails at around $14,000, but still relies on gasoline. You’re better off just saving up for the Model S if you ask us, though if you want, you can read the whole AAA ranking of green cars here. Some of the results might surprise you.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • jburt56

    Greenest car? Probably light rail.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    The reason why Tesla S is the greenest is indeed that it is the first EV that can genuinely substitute comparable gasoline car. All other EVs or plug-in hybrids are either overpriced or inferior to comparable gasoline car. Therefore they make poor substitution for gasoline car.

  • Albert Bodenhamer

    Gotta love misquotes. “Greenest car” and “best green car” are VERY different things.

  • Somite

    The Audi Q7 TDI SUV greener than a Nissan LEAF? Seems legit.

    • No way

      The headline is wrong here. They have taken a number of “green” cars and then ranked them as cars according to many criterias.
      If it was the greenest car then of course the Leaf would be higher, of course above the Tesla too.

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