The profitability of electric cars has long perplexed automakers, some of whom have yet to make rapid progress or accurate sales forecasts given uncertainties with demand, supply, ability to scale, cross-functional partnerships with fellow automakers and suppliers, among other factors.

In a Monday speech at a Rovereto, Italy university event, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV CEO Sergio Marchionne cited losses of up to $20,000 on each all-electric Fiat 500e produced. Buoyed by perception FCA does not want to lag behind competitors in EV market share, the company has decided to keep the 500 with a plug sold only in California in the U.S. in its lineup.

“The biggest fear that I see is that we will be left behind,” said Marchionne in an interview. “We are a very slow industry; for us to make a decision takes forever.”

The 500e represents an aggressive effort by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to become more than a bit player in the EV market. Priced at $33,000 with an 87-mile range on a single charge, it has sold globally between 500 to more than 700 units a month in 2017. It also serves as a compliance vehicle designed for FCA to better adhere to government-mandated emissions requirements.

This news follows earlier activity made by Fiat Chrysler to increase its competitiveness. As part of its five-year plan, the automaker is exploring synergies and looking into consolidation opportunities with another major automaker to reduce debt and share its development costs.

Past events include General Motors’ non-acceptance of a merger offer in 2015 and no reported progress with Volkswagen AG in response to the PSA Group’s purchase of GM’s Opel. Fiat Chrysler already has a self-driving agreement with Google to build on self-driving and connected cars.

Business Insider