The architect of China’s world-leading electric-car push is convinced hydrogen vehicles will play an important role in the world’s biggest auto market.

Fuel-cell vehicles will be key especially in China’s northwest, where distances between cities are long and electric-car adoption remains low, Wan Gang said Wednesday in Munich.

"First we need to build a green hydrogen system,” Wan said at a German-Chinese conference on the sidelines of the IAA car show. In some regions, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen cars could even be more prevalent than fully electric models, he said.