The Chinese government confirmed it would fully support hydrogen fuel cell technology as a mainstream automotive fuel of the future alongside battery powered electric vehicles, according to local reports.

Speaking at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing, Huang Libin – spokesman for the country's ministry of industry and information technology – told reporters "hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in the future will co-exist and complement electric vehicles to jointly meeting the people's transportation needs".

Huang said "both lithium battery powered electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are important technical solutions for the new energy vehicle segment", adding the former technology was more suitable for passenger cars travelling within the city limits while hydrogen powered vehicles were more suitable for large commercial vehicles used over longer distances.

The two technologies are seen as complementary – both are zero emission fuels while hydrogen fuel cells also offer quick refueling and long distance performance which are crucial for an efficient transportation industry. Hydrogen currently lags far behind electric both in terms of refueling infrastructure and economies of scale, however.

The South Korean and Japanese governments have recently made significant efforts to support and promote the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology in transportation.

Huang confirmed the ministry plans to carry out demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the near future "with the aim of promoting innovative development in China's hydrogen energy and fuel-cell vehicle industries".