Top auto execs largely see hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion as the ultimate solution to pollution-free driving, and think diesel engines are on their way to extinction, a late January survey of automotive executives conducted by KPMG revealed.

An overwhelming 78 percent of respondents said fuel cells are the “real breakthrough” thanks to their uber-clean construction, operation, and recycling or disposal.

Whereas electric cars are powered by highly-toxic batteries that require immense amounts of energy to produce and dispose of – plus extensive mining for rare-earth metals – hydrogen-powered vehicles’ drivetrains can be constructed almost entirely of conventional metals, needing only a small on-board battery to support electronics.

Interestingly, 62 percent of the auto-execs polled said electric vehicles will fail, meaning the current push for electric vehicles may be somewhat short-lived.

Furthermore, 76 percent of the executives polled held the belief traditional internal combustion engines will remain relevant for “quite some time,” except for diesels, which they don’t see lasting much longer.