Despite rising fuel prices the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is still some distance away, according to a study by business advisory firm Deloitte.
Just 16 per cent of 4,760 European consumers surveyed said they saw themselves as “potential first movers” to buy or lease an electric car.
Fifty-three per cent said they “might be willing to consider” it while 31 per cent said they were “not likely to consider” purchasing or leasing an EV.
David Raistrick, automotive partner and head of manufacturing at Deloitte UK said: "There is no doubt that electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry. However while interest in electric vehicles is growing, current market offerings generally fall far short of consumers' expectations for driving range, charging time, and purchase price.”
Craig Giffi, Deloitte global automotive sector leader, added: “As a result we estimate only one to two per cent of these consumers actually adopting battery electric vehicles by 2020.”
Of those willing to consider an EV, 57 per cent expect to pay the same or less than they would for a regular car, while just 24 per cent said they would pay a price premium of more than €1,500.
There was also a tipping point in terms of fuel prices, with 63 per cent of respondents saying they are “much more likely” to consider an EV if fuel costs rose to €2 per litre.
However consumers surveyed from the UK and Germany were less sensitive to fuel prices and were also more willing to pay a premium for EVs that “potential first movers” from other countries.
More than 80 per cent of European consumers surveyed said that convenience to charge, range, and charging costs were also key considerations.
Raistrick said: "The automotive industry continues to invest in high end R&D to devise the cutting edge technology required for electric vehicles and it is clear that this innovation is a priority for car manufacturers.
"I believe there is potential for green vehicles to represent 10 per cent of the new car market within 10 years, although the road to get there will be bumpy."
While hybrids and battery electric vehicles currently represent just a fraction of total cars on the road, this may change in the future as governments introduce greener policies and taxes.