Former Toyota executive Bill Reinert is so unsold on electric vehicles as a viable advanced-powertrain option for future transportation that he has praised – gasp – Ford, for its downsized internal combustion engines. Reinert was a key player in developing Toyota's original Prius hybrid and, in an interview published in Yale University's Environment 360 blog, said a hybrid that gets 60 miles per gallon is superior to an electric vehicle.

"And that is why you will be seeing more fuel cells in the future." – Bill Reinert

Reinert went on to praise the advances that automakers have made in improving fuel economy of fossil fuel vehicles, specifically namechecking Ford and its three-cylinder Ecoboost engine. He also has good things to say about both hydrogen fuel-cell electric technology as well as natural gas vehicles, but admits that limited fueling infrastructure will keep those types of vehicles in the margins for the near future. He also says that hydrogen vehicles aren't that great yet but that, "When most [manufacturers] investigate the two technologies [H2 and EVs], they see that FVCs offer more room for performance improvement and cost reduction potential. And that is why you will be seeing more fuel cells in the future."

As far as pure electric, Reinert says lithium-ion batteries have "tremendous shortcomings" and talks about battery degradation, substandard performance in hot weather and, of course, limited single-charge driving range. He also says that people need to factor in the environmental impact of producing electricity for the grid to fully gauge how environmentally beneficial EVs can be. We'd like to take him and Tesla Motors Chief Elon Musk to what we think would be a spirited lunch. You can read the whole interview with Reinert here.


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