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

2014 Green Car Guide

The AAA Green Car Guide has selected the Tesla S P85 as its top-scoring green car pick this year.  The fully-electric car is featured with more than 80 other green vehicles in the latest AAA Green Car Guide that is available at the AAA Hawaii branch and online at the AAA Hawaii web site. 


The guide is offered at no charge at the branch while supplies last.  The report also can be found at


The 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 green 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.


Green vehicles offer a way to save money on Hawaii’s high gas prices, which often exceed $4 a gallon, said the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center (ARC) Manager and Chief Engineer Steve Mazor.  The center conducted the testing for the AAA Green Car Guide.


In describing the top-scoring green vehicle 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.” 


A Tesla sales “gallery” and a Tesla service center are located in Waikele, according to the Tesla Motors web site.


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.”


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



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AAA Hawai'i is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the state of Hawai'i.