Almost three-quarters of Irish motorists say the cost of an electric car is a barrier to buying them, with more than half citing confusion about the options open to them for environmentally-friendly purchases.
The research was revealed as part of a national study of over 1,000 Irish consumers by the Irish Car Carbon Reduction Alliance (ICCRA), as part of its launch of a new website to provide information on cleaner options available to motorists.
E-Way2040.ie breaks down the facts on the latest motor vehicle options available, as well as outlining a wider industry approach to get Ireland on the road to zero car emissions, the ICCRA said.
The report found that 53% of consumers are confused about the car options available to them and their impact on the environment, with almost nine in 10 admitting they don’t know the CO2 emissions output of their current vehicle.
Just over four in 10 said the Government plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 in Ireland would stop them from buying a petrol or diesel car in the next five years.
However, three quarters said the cost would put them off buying electric vehicles, followed by a lack of appropriate charging infrastructure at 70%, and a lack of sufficient time to do so at 57%.
ICCRA spokesman Denis Murphy, of Blackwater Motors in Cork, said Irish consumers want to reduce their car carbon footprint.
However, they want clarity and cost-effective solutions that can have a real and lasting positive impact, he added.
More than half of consumers are confused about the car options available to them and their impact on the environment.
"We also know that conflicting information on what is actually an environmentally friendly car is a significant concern to two thirds of Irish consumers.
“Furthermore, 86% of drivers admitted they don’t know the CO2 emissions from their current vehicle.
These findings clearly show the widespread confusion among consumers, a factor which is only adding to uncertainty at a critical time as the economy begins to reopen,” Mr Murphy said.
The study also revealed 62% of consumers would be willing to consider buying a car with an internal combustion engine if it could be shown to be more environmentally friendly.
However, 42% of respondents, rising to 60% among 18 to 24-year-olds, stated that the Government’s planned 2030 combustible engine ban would stop them buying a diesel or petrol engine car in the next five years, the ICCRA said.
Mr Murphy said consumers need information to make informed choices when seeking to buy cars that are more fuel-efficient and emit less carbon.
However, current Government policy and the climate action plan is creating a fog of confusion and red lights. This is despite the fact that current technological innovations could bring petrol and diesel engine cars close to zero emissions by 2030.
He said that as coronavirus restrictions ease, the increased traffic would serve as a reminder of the need to incentivise immediate action to reduce fuel emissions.
The research was evidence that electric vehicles will not be the answer for the overwhelming majority of Irish consumers for many years to come, ICCRA claimed.
There are around 8,500 electric vehicles on Irish roads, not even 1% of the Government target of 850,000 by 2030, Mr Murphy said.