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Toyota North American CEO: We’re Betting Big On Fuel Cell Cars.

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What’s the future of the automobile? For all the attention Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have received of late, the electric car is the logical guess.

Not at Toyota.

Hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles made up 16% of Toyota’s (TM) total sales last year — 10% of that number was from electric vehicles. That sector “will grow over time, as we see improvement in batteries,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America told the audience at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference on Tuesday. “But we’re really excited about this concept of fuel cell vehicles.”

Why? Because “it’s an on-demand electric vehicle,” Lentz said. “Rather than having a large heavy battery that takes a while to charge, you basically use hydrogen to produce electricity and water vapor.” Another factor is that prices of batteries used in electric vehicles aren’t dropping dramatically enough to offer consumers a long-range vehicle at a reasonable price. “It’ll happen some day, but I can’t tell you when that is,” Lentz says. “The long-term play is going to be fuel cell.”


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“Toyota North American CEO: We’re Betting Big On Fuel Cell Cars.”