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Southern California AAA Ranks Toyota RAV4 EV as Top Green Car in 2013 |

battery-electric plug-in vehicle is the top green car to own, according to the Auto Club of Southern California. The Toyota RAV4 EV topped the list in the Club’s “2013 Green Car Guide: Plugged Into the Future,” published yesterday. Hybrids took nine out of the top ten slots, however.

“Emissions are just one score out of 13,” said Steve Mazor, the Automobile Club’s chief automotive engineer and automotive research manager. “In many cases other than the RAV 4, they [plug-in electric vehicles] are slow. They don’t handle well, generally are not very quiet, and they tend to be small cars and don’t have a lot of room in them.”

The Automobile Club’s Automotive Research Center also considers safety, braking, acceleration, handling, roominess, interior noise, and ease of entry and exit, among 13 criteria. All are rated equally, said Mazor.

“People use these cars,” he explained. By considering factors other than emissions, the Auto Club aims to show “you can buy a car that is more friendly for the environment and do the things you do with any car.”

This year, the Research Center evaluated 77 vehicles, including hybrids, electric vehicles, alternative-fueled vehicles, PZEVs, and conventional vehicles with “class-leading fuel efficiency.” The models are tested for at least a week. A model has to be a green car to even get into the competition, said Mazor. The results, and total rankings, are included in the Green Car Guide. Besides evaluating vehicles, the Guide explains what makes a car qualify as green—describing different kinds of green powertrains and debunking some myths associated with each.

“There is a much larger choice of green vehicles than people think,” said Mazor. “If you want an SUV or a sporty sedan or just a mainstream mid-sized sedan, you might as well get a green car.”



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