Car buyers still need to be convinced by manufacturers about 'green' vehicles, such as hybrids, electric cars and those powered by fuel cells.
A survey, carried out by consultancy group Hagstotz ITM, questioned 1000 people in Britain, Germany and Italy.
Drivers won't pay 'green' premium
Most drivers said that they'd consider buying a car fitted with an alternative drive system, but only if the price was right and if the vehicle could deliver genuine performance.
Performance must improve first
The research also revealed a substantial gap between potential users' expectations and what current technology can actually deliver.
Only 17% of drivers said they'd accept a vehicle with a range of less than 125 miles, a distance considerably further than most EVs can travel at the moment.
The vast majority of respondents said they wouldn't be willing to pay up to 30% more for an alternative drive vehicle the level of margin that the industry needs to sell 'green' cars at a profit.
The report's author, Professor Werner Hagstotz, said: 'The study points out a key factory for future acceptance of these concepts.
'Most studies are focused on technical possibilities and the engineer's point of view. However, an important issue is the customer's trust in manufacturers and suppliers.'