Nearly half of Irish consumers would consider purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle

Published on 16 February 2023
Liberty Consumer Spotlight - Car buying prospects in 2023

Research published in light of Government's recent €100m ‘Electric Vehicles Charing Infrastructure Strategy 2022 – 2025’ investment

  • One in four would like to change their car for a more sustainable vehicle
  • Fears over ‘range anxiety’ and the cost of e-vehicles are the biggest deterrents

Nearly half of Irish consumers would consider buying an electric vehicle, according to new research released today by Liberty Insurance.

Research carried out by Liberty Insurance and RED C in Q3 2022 found that 49% of motorists would consider buying a fully electric or hybrid car. One in three (32%) would not be prepared to consider an electric car, while one in five (19%) don’t know.

The research was published in light of Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan’s recently announced €100m investment in electric charging points, as outlined in the Electric Vehicles Charging Infrastructure Strategy 2022 – 2025, published on 19th January. In addition, the European Parliament also voted this week to phase out the sale of any new petrol or diesel cars in the EU by 2035.

The survey asked motorists why they are considering purchasing a new car this year. According to respondents, the two most prominent reasons are a desire to drive a more sustainable vehicle (24%) and cheaper running costs (24%). 

Range Anxiety and other Fears

Despite motorists’ desire to drive more sustainable cars, the survey identified a number of reasons why drivers are still concerned about making the switch to hybrid or electric vehicles.

Seven in ten motorists surveyed (70%) would not consider buying an electric or hybrid vehicle as they believe these cars are too expensive.

Fears related to ‘range anxiety’ are also commonly cited by motorists. Half (49%) believe there is insufficient charging infrastructure across the country, while more than one in three drivers (35%) believe electric vehicles are only suitable for short distances and city driving.

As part of the Government’s recently announced investment, it intends to install high-powered charging points at 60km intervals across Ireland’s entire motorway network, which should go a long way toward alleviating these concerns. 

Significantly, in light of the current energy crisis, more than three in ten (31%) worry about the cost of their electricity bill if they were to charge their car at home. Meanwhile, a significant proportion of the population (25%) say they simply don’t know enough about electric vehicles to consider purchasing them right now.

International Comparisons

Similar research was also carried out by Kantar in Spain and Portugal, the other countries where Liberty operates in Europe. In both countries, a small majority of motorists would consider purchasing an electric vehicle now (55% in Portugal, and 56% in Spain), although the consumer cohort who ‘don’t know’ is considerably higher than in Ireland.

Fears about making the switch to electric vehicles are slightly less pronounced in both countries than in Ireland. The cost of electronic vehicles is cited as a concern for 54% of Spaniards and 65% of Portuguese, versus 70% of Irish respondents. Just 36% of Spanish motorists and 25% of Portuguese drivers are discouraged by worries about their country’s charging infrastructure, compared to nearly half of Irish motorists (49%).

Máiréad Carty, Head of Motor Product in Ireland said: 

“We know that there is a clear desire on behalf of Irish motorists to drive more environmentally sustainable vehicles. It is important that we continue to encourage and incentivise this behaviour. However, the research suggests concerns remain in relation to the practical limitations of electric vehicles, particularly specific to range anxiety and the prevalence of charging points on Irish roads.

“On a positive note, the Irish Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, recently launched a new Electric Vehicles Charging Infrastructure Strategy 2022 – 2025, which will see €100m being spent on public charging infrastructure in the next three years. Whilst this is obviously a really encouraging development, it is important that news of this investment is reaching Irish motorists before they begin researching their next car purchase.”

"In the coming months, we expect the trend toward electric cars to gather further momentum. At Liberty, we aim to lead the way. We stand ready to help our customers and ensure they get the cover they want, and they pay only for what they need."