Tesla Model X wins AAA Green Vehicle Awards' top honor

Tesla's Model X has received the top Green Vehicle nod from the AAA, sharing the honors with electric vehicles made by Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Ford and Lexus.

The battery electric luxury SUV won the “overall” and “SUV” categories in the annual awards, given out by the AAA in recognition of vehicles that are easy on the environment, if not on the wallet. The Model X starts at $85,000.

Tesla’s Model S luxury electric sedan was named best vehicle in the “large” category.

But less-expensive transportation also scored top marks. Chevrolet’s battery electric Bolt EV won the “subcompact” category, and Volkswagen’s e-Golf SE won in the “compact” division.

The Lexus GS 450 F Sport claimed victory in the “midsize” category. In the “pickup” division, the winner was the Ford F-150 XLT Super Crew.

The auto club’s Green Vehicle report indicated that as many as 30 million Americans say they are likely to make an electric vehicle their next car purchase.

But actual EV adoption remains low. Hybrid vehicles accounted for about 3% of all car sales last year, with plug-in electric cars — like the Tesla Model S and X, or the Bolt EV — representing less than 1%.

“While desire for green vehicles is strong, making the leap to an electric, hybrid or other fuel efficient vehicle can be daunting to car shoppers," said Megan McKernan, manager of the AAA’s automotive research center.

But more than half of Americans surveyed told the AAA that “range anxiety” was their main reason for staying with a gasoline-powered vehicle — even though most U.S. drivers’ daily commute is well within the battery-electric range for electric vehicles.

Part of that range anxiety stems from Americans thinking they need to drive farther than they actually do, McKernan said. But it’s also due to the relative scarcity and low profile of EV charging stations, compared to traditional gas stations.

“People used to seeing gas stations on every corner," McKernan said. “So that’s what most people think ‘a lot’ means” when they say there aren’t a lot of places to recharge a battery.

The auto club’s full list of available green cars can be viewed at AAA.com/greencar.

charles.fleming@latimes.com

@misterfleming

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
75°