Any physician knows that meaningful health changes often begin with small steps. For doctors looking to improve the health of the planet, perhaps a small step is making your next vehicle purchase an electric vehicle (EV).
A 2020 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report found that in most cases, battery EVs “have lower life cycle greenhouse gas” than emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles. That’s not to say that EVs don’t have environmental effects. They do, and you can check out this report to learn about some of them. However, the CRS report notes that the emissions linked to obtaining the raw materials needed for EVs are “typically more than offset by lower vehicle in-use stage emissions, depending on the electricity generation source used to charge the vehicle batteries.”
If an EV fits your lifestyle and finances, you now have more options than ever. Leading manufacturers are rolling out more EV options annually, with some even pledging to reduce emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.
Not sure if an EV fits your physician budget? Check out our Ultimate car-buying guide for doctors. Weighing used vs new? We’ve got a physician-centric guide for that, too. Here are six of the best EVs that suit the medical career and lifestyle.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Ideal for: The Hyundai Kona Electric’s price tag makes it a budget-friendly option for early-career physicians. Of note, this sub-compact SUV only comes in front-wheel drive, so it’s best suited for docs who live in snowless locales.
You heal patients, and Hyundai wants to help heal the planet. The company is working toward carbon neutrality by 2045, and the Kona Electric supports that mission. This EV uses regenerative braking to replenish the battery. The car also has zero tailpipe emissions. Featuring a 258-mile range, you won’t have to worry about running out of juice on the way to an emergency call, either. The Kona may also ease concerns about paying a visit to your colleagues in the emergency department. It’s been designated a 2021 top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Kia Niro EV
Ideal for: The Kia Niro EV is a good option for early- to mid-career doctors with families, or anyone who needs some extra cargo space. Note well, this compact SUV also only comes in front-wheel drive, so it may not be ideal for locales that receive heavy snowfall.
The Kia Niro EV has recently taken the title of JD Power’s Best Ownership Experience Among Mass Market Battery Electric Vehicles. On especially cold or hot mornings, you’ll appreciate the vehicle’s remote start with climate control. The Niro also features roomy storage, and the motor puts out 201 horsepower for a zippy drive. The standard 400v DC Fast Charging system means you’ll be charged up faster than other EVs–which is a major plus for doctors who may need to run out on an emergency call at a moment’s notice.
Ideal for: If you’re a mid-career doctor who needs the size and convenience of a compact SUV, and the go-anywhere capability of all-wheel drive, the Volkswagen ID.4 may be the EV for you–if you can get one.
The 2021 World Car of the Year, the ID.4 is known for its quick charging times: about 62 miles in 10 minutes. Another thing that’s quick is the car’s ability to sell–the entire first-edition stock sold out in 8 hours. If you want one, you’re going to have to reserve it (and probably pay full price). The all-wheel-drive capability and SUV size may be worth the price and wait. Plus, it’s an elegant ride: sleek, clean lines, a glass roof, but still a warm, approachable cabin. A Mashable report drew this comparison: “The Tesla experience in a Model Y is a bit cold with the giant screen and nothing else. The ID.4 … felt more welcoming … it’s the interior features that really make it stand out.”
Polestar 2 EV
Starting MSRP: $45,900 (single-motor model) | $49,900 (dual-motor model)
Federal tax credit: Up to $7,500 for both
Range: 265 miles (single-motor model) | 249 miles (dual-motor model)
Ideal for: The Polestar 2 EV suits the established doctor looking for luxury, performance, and originality. The pricier dual-motor model comes in all-wheel drive, which is better-suited for snow and other challenging weather conditions.
Is your physician parking lot a sea of Teslas? Looking to stand out? Frameless windows, sleek lights, bold wheels, and a 0-60 mph rating of 4.5 seconds (in the dual-motor model) may make you a speedy trendsetter. You may recognize the Polestar branding and styling: It’s the performance and EV extension of Volvo. Car and Driver called the Polestar 2 a “sedanlike hatchback (that’s) the brand’s answer to the Tesla Model 3,” calling it “richly appointed” and lauding its “intuitive infotainment system.” But they weren’t wowed by its looks, saying its “odd design isn’t very pretty.” We politely disagree!
Starting MSRP: $65,900
Federal tax credit: $7,500
Range: 218-222 miles, depending on options
Ideal for: The Audi e-tron is best for the established doctor who needs the go-anywhere capability of Audi’s iconic Quattro all-wheel drive system and wants the performance typical of German engineering, but in an EV.
Most doctors have seen enough car accidents to crave all of the vehicle safety features money can buy. With the e-tron, Audi’s got that covered–and then some. Cameras through Audi’s “pre sense front” scan the road and warn of any potentially dangerous situations up ahead. If it detects hazards, the vehicle emits a series of warnings. If the driver fails to respond, the e-tron brakes automatically to prevent an accident or (hopefully) lessen its effects. All of this rides on the foundation of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. Several IIHS studies have shown that all-wheel drive vehicles have the lowest driver death rates. All of this amounts to peace of mind in a stylish, powerful SUV.
Porsche Taycan Turbo
Starting MSRP: From $150,900
Federal tax credit: $7,500
Range: 212 miles
Ideal for: The Porsche Taycan Turbo is a good fit for senior physicians (or younger doctors who bought Bitcoin in 2009) who want to drive an electric rocket ship on wheels.
A vehicle fit for Scrubs’ own Dr. Cox, here are some head-turning performance stats for the Taycan: 670 horsepower and 0-60 in 3 seconds flat–all from an electric motor that puts out zero C02 emissions. If you can afford the hefty sticker price, the Taycan may be the perfect reward for years of service in the white coat or surgical scrubs. Critics all agree that the Taycan Turbo is one of the few contenders for the Tesla crown. Although its design is timeless and instantly recognizable as Porsche luxury, the brand notes that this car is still built to serve your everyday hustle with comfort and convenience. Can your commute be restorative? Maybe in this beauty.