Driver Profile | Dr. Karl Bloss
Current EV Models:
Tesla Model Y, Kia Niro, Zero Motorcycle, Chevy Volt

Dr. Karl Bloss has been an electric vehicle enthusiast since 2014 and currently owns four EVs. These vehicles are not only utilized by him and his wife but also his children, who continue to use them even while away at college.

 Karl was a valued member of the PowerMIDrive Team at Consumers Energy, where he led our Outreach and Education efforts until he retired in March. In recognition of his dedication to environmental advocacy, Karl was honored with the Consumers Energy Planet Award in October 2023. While his official role involved educating thousands of customers and coworkers on the benefits of driving electric, Karl’s true impact extends far beyond measurable metrics. The Electric Vehicle Association said it best recently when he won their EV Advocate of the Year award in February 2024, “Dr. Karl Bloss has become a force to be reckoned with in the state’s burgeoning EV landscape.”

What got you interested in driving electric?

“I lived in Germany from 2011-2014 and had a chance to test drive an early Mini Cooper EV test mule and I was blown away by the acceleration and regenerative braking. Also, gas was the equivalent of $7 per gallon. When we came back to the US, I decided to give a used electric car a try.”

What kind of car did you have before you bought an EV?

“I used to drive an Audi A6 so I was used to a quiet ride plus great performance.”

What EV or EVs did you first buy or lease and why?

“Our first trial EV was a 2012 Nissan LEAF that had just come off a 2-year-lease. The range was a modest 70 real world miles.”

What has been your experience so far?

“Since I only had a 20-mile round trip commute and free workplace charging, the LEAF became our go-to vehicle for all local errands. Before long we were taking regional trips with it instead of our gas minivan because it was so much fun to drive and so cheap to drive.”

Have you experienced range anxiety?

“In the EV world, we say that range anxiety turns into range awareness. Even though the 2014 charging infrastructure isn’t what it is today, we still ventured out of our local area. When we went beyond the public charger range, we used the Level 1 cable plugged into a regular outlet to top up the car. We even charged with a campground 50A RV plug once. But we never ran out of range and needed to be towed as a result.

When it came time to get another vehicle three years later, we had learned how charging worked and went all-in with a 2015 Tesla Model S. That become our road trip car since we had free lifetime Supercharging in that vintage car. In 2018 we finally couldn’t justify the fuel, insurance, and maintenance cost of our gas minivan so we sold it and became an all-EV family.”

Have you taken a road trip and if so, what was your charging experience?

“We exclusively take road trips in our EVs and it has been amazing. Once you learn the tricks of finding chargers, we overlap our coffee and food stops with charging.  Having since upgraded to a 2023 Tesla Model Y, the charging is so fast we barely have time to make food selections before the app nags us that the car is charged enough and we should move it.”

Have you seen much of an increase in your electric bill related to EV charging?

“Using the Nighttime Savers rate, we pay about 4-5 cents per mile. Since we drive less than 1000 miles per month with our two EVs, our home electric bill has only increased by around $40-50. Considering we were paying more like $150 in gas monthly prior to that, we see that as a major win.”

Have you found charging inconvenient?

“I think it’s actually more convenient since mostly you’re charging at home. No more touching nasty fuel pump handles or risking credit card skimmers. We plug in when we get home, the charger timer starts at 11 p.m. when the energy is cheapest and we wake up to two charged vehicles ready for another day of driving. We did have to invest in a squeegee because we never go to gas stations anymore.”

Did you get a Consumers Energy home charger rebate or are you on the Smart charging incentive (SCI) program?

“We took advantage of the $500 home charger rebate when we first installed home charging. At that time it was either the rebate OR the Smart Charging Incentive (formerly Bring Your Own Charger). Since EV drivers are now eligible for both, we took advantage of the SCI with both vehicles and recently on my electric motorcycle as well.”

How does it handle in Michigan snowy conditions?

“Since EVs have a lower center of gravity and very linear torque, with the right snow tires our EVs handle great in snow. And because heat is provided by a heat pump rather than an engine block heating up, the car warms up much faster than our old combustion engine vehicles.”

What aspect of EV driving has surprised you?

“I had heard the maintenance is reduced on EVs, but I didn’t realize how profound that would be. Gone are the days of needing to schedule an oil change with either the dealer or a quick lube shop where you’re never sure if someone is trying to upsell you something. With just some washer fluid, wiper blades, a cabin filter, and the occasional tire rotation, that’s all the regular maintenance you need on an EV.  And modern liquid-cooled battery packs will likely outlive the car.”

Is there anything else regarding your experience that you would like to share?

“There is a great EV community here in Michigan. For those who are interested in hanging out with other EV drivers, check out EV groups like the EV Association or Facebook Groups like the Michigan EV and Plug-In Vehicle Enthusiasts. We meet up for opportunities to show off our EVs to the community as well as just get together for social nights. Look for EV organizations in your area to share in the camaraderie.”