Tesla's Elon Musk has called hydrogen fuel cell cars "a load of rubbish" and "fool cells," and he's nowhere near alone in his disdain for the technology. Toyota has been fighting back waves of condescension for years now, and did so again when Senior VP Bob Carter took the stage at the recent J.D. Power Automotive Summit this month.

His target was comments that Musk made at the Automotive News World Congress at the Detroit Auto Show, when Musk said an FCEV was an "extremely silly way" to store energy, that "the best-case hydrogen fuel cell doesn't win against the current-case battery" and that hydrogen's failings will become obvious in the next few years. Carter's response was that the fuel cell initiative isn't about the next few years. "This is not a 24-to-36-month play, but when you start looking into the 2020s," then you can see the necessity of hydrogen fuel cells, which Toyota considers an extension of EV technology, he said.

The Toyota Mirai will begin its defense of the FCEV industry in the US later this year. The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell is already available in California and Honda's hydrogen car will arrive in 2016. Until then, we can let some more of Carter's words ring in our ears: "If I was in a position where I had all my eggs in one basket," he said of Musk's BEV-only focus, "I would perhaps be making those same comments."


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