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Daimler chief sees electric cars beating hydrogen, for now

EVs are just more realistic right now, he says.
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Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Daimler may be hedging its bets with work on both electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars, but it sees a front runner emerging. In a chat with Euro am Sonntag, company chief Dieter Zetsche says he believes EVs are "more likely" to come out on top. Simply put, he believes the electric camp has more answers. EVs with long range and fast charging are "within reach," while it's still not clear how you'll make hydrogen both cheap and widely available. That doesn't mean that fuel cells are out -- however, their future isn't looking good.

Just don't expect Daimler to lean on the government, whichever power source comes out on top. Zetsche likes Germany's goal of 1 million EVs on the road by 2020, but he doesn't believe that subsidies (such as tax breaks in the US) are the way to make that happen. They represent a short-term "bridging function" that won't last long, he says. While it's doubtful that Zetsche will turn down discounts that come his way, he's clearly putting more trust in technological solutions.

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