THE Government's goal of electric cars accounting for least 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030 is unrealistic, according to new research which shows that drivers would not even consider making the switch to electric or hybrid powered cars for almost a decade.
With the long-awaited publication of the Government's Road to Zero report last month, new research carried out by Auto Trader indicates that many consumers (38 per cent) remain unaware of policy regarding electric cars - and are confused by the technical jargon used to describe them.
Drivers are split as to whether the proposed ban on petrol and diesel engines in favour of a shift to electric power is a positive thing - with 40 per cent in favour and the same number against a ban.
Not even existing government incentives are helping buyers to make the switch as 74 per cent of those surveyed did not know that the government offers plug-in grants for buyers of electric and hybrid vehicles.
Drivers surveyed said that they'll wait nine years before buying an electric or hybrid vehicle, with lack of charging infrastructure and upfront expense cited as the most common reasons for not switching from internal combustion engines, even though research indicates that electric cars cost less over four years.
With drivers changing cars on average every two to three years, this means that they will likely purchase three cars before buying an EV. Only 26 per cent would consider electric for their next car, the same percentage as when Auto Trader surveyed consumers in March 2017.
However, the survey also revealed that recent negative publicity over diesel power has already had a significant impact with half (52 per cent) of those surveyed admitting that news reports have made them more likely to consider purchasing an alternative fuel car, including electric.
Auto Trader says that this is supported by consumers performing less searches for diesel cars and more for alternative fuel types on its website - diesel now only accounts for 47 per cent of searches, down from its peak of 72 per cent in June 2016.
According to Auto Trader's editorial director, Erin Baker: "There's no doubt that electric vehicles are the future. However, our research indicates that there are still significant barriers to adoption, with greater investment in infrastructure and technology needed.
"It's also crucial that car manufacturers and the government alike ensure that language to describe electric cars is clear and accessible, rather than laden with technological jargon that consumers may find alienating."