Less than half the population believe the Government will meet its 2030 target to have one million electric cars on Irish roads, with over 30% of them believing it will only be achieved if the grants available towards the cost of buying electric vehicles (EVs) are improved. The nationwide survey, carried out by iReach Insights on behalf of Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC (Aviva) of 1,000 adults throughout the country, also found that cost is the number one factor precluding consumers from moving to EVs, followed by concern around EV range and the public availability of charging points.
Speaking of the findings, Billy Shannon, Aviva commented: “The survey shows that confidence is not widespread when it comes to the target the Government has set out in its Climate Action Plan. Moreover, of those who do believe we might reach our goal, most of them say that this will be contingent on changes being made to the grants available to help people purchase electric vehicles.
“However, there are encouraging signs given that the number of EV registrations has already doubled this year on last year, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to convince people of the benefits and to help them make this fundamental shift. The most recent research from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI)2. reports a current total of 47,000 EVs on our roads”.
Highlights from the Aviva EV survey include:
- Only 12% of people feel the Government’s target is realistic as it stands
- Older age cohorts (45 years plus) are the most confidence of the Government’s chances of success
- 54% of respondents in Dublin think the Government can succeed in their ambitions compared with just 37% of those in the Munster region
The current incentives and supports available to help defray those initial costs include up to €5,000 towards the purchase of new battery electric vehicles (BEVs), subject to a price cap of €60,000, up to €600 to install a home charger unit for new and second-hand BEVs or PHEVs, and VRT relief of up to €5,000 for BEVs.
Barriers to take up
The Aviva survey highlights the main barriers to seeing greater take up of EVs amongst consumers, the top of which are:
- Initial cost of the car
- Availability of chargers, range anxiety when taking long trips, and the fear of being stranded
- Cost of installation of domestic charging points
- Lack of knowledge around battery life and warranty etc.
- Lack of second hand EVs
Billy Shannon continued: “Cost appears to be the number one prohibitive factor for both men and women, with more than 7 in 10 citing the initial outlay as a barrier to change. People are also voicing concerns relating to the range that EVs can reach, and as to whether there will be sufficient publicly available infrastructure to recharge as and when needed.
“The results really speak to where we are in our timeline with adopting this still relatively new technology. They reveal a sense of hesitancy amongst most people, and a sense perhaps of a lack of trust around the use of EVs.”
The Nuisance Factor
When asked what their biggest concern in relation to charging an EV would be, 3 in 10 Aviva survey respondents saw EV charging as a “nuisance”, while a further 3 in 10 would be worried about the availability of charging points.
This is an extremely ambitious target that Government has set, and it’s understandable that people are sceptical as it seems we still have a long way to go. All these issues and concerns highlight just how early on, in many ways, we are as a nation in really stepping into this transition from oil powered to electric powered vehicles. The questions and concerns that are arising attest to the lack of real-world experience that people have with this new technology. However, it is a shift we must make – and relatively quickly. Whether or not we are able to ramp up the switch to greener energy by 2030 remains to be seen.Billy Shannon, Aviva
The Aviva survey also highlighted a range of motor insurance policy features that they consider to be important if insuring an EV:
- Cover for unexpected battery failure was considered important by almost 7 in 10 respondents
- 64% believe that breakdown rescue cover should be available and at no extra cost, including for running out of power
Almost 6 in 10 say that the policy should cover charging cables, wall boxes and adaptors