Tesla Model S 70D Wins Top Score in AAA Green Car of the Year

The Tesla Model S continues to take top honors in AAA’s Green Car of the Year award, and this time it’s the Model S 70D.

The Model S 70D was rolled out about a year ago by Tesla, replacing the 60-kwh rear-wheel drive base model. Starting at $75,000, the 329-horsepower 70D has a 70-kwh battery instead of 85 kwh like the P85D does, and goes 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, not the P85D’s 3.2 seconds.

“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. “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.”

This year’s top five are the 2015 Model S 70D, winning 92.49 points; the 2014 Hatchback BMW i3 at 88.47 points; the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium at 87.09 points; the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Premium, winning 83.49 points; and the 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium, coming in at 81.96 points. AAA evaluates 13 categories with scores of 0-10 points, with scores totaled to determine the top vehicles.

For green cars over $50,000, the 2015 Tesla Model S 70D took the price category award, followed by the 2014 BMW i3 winning the $30,000 to $50,000 award. Mazda’s 2014 Mazda3 Grand Touring model took the Best Green Car Value under $30,000 award.

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The Tesla model is featured with 80 other green vehicles in the 2016 AAA Green Car Guide, which is published annually by the Automobile Club of Southern California and its Automotive Research Center. The guide summarizes vehicle specifications, test scores, data and observations, and vehicle strengths and weaknesses. Vehicles making the list 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.