They want cars, which are electric, and BMW et. al. will give them tons of those and that's it.
The other 'nice things' Telsa has are niche feature offers; nice, but not going to change the world.
Elon is betting that he can automate manufacturing better than other companies, that remains to be seen.
There's a broad belief in the US that "Tesla has change the world" ... which really isn't true.
If we wanted to attribute it to a car, it's probably the Nissan Leaf though that wouldn't be right either.
I think the 'Tesla Myth' is borne out of pop culture instinct, not really industry reality or data.
Here are the facts  (EV sales historical)
Tesla has never been an important EV maker - in terms of volume.
The major manufacturers have always been innovating, tweaking, and out-selling Tesla on EV's by a wide margin.
If Tesla were not on that chart, it wouldn't have changed a thing.
Tesla is a niche player and boldly entered into a locked up market, and helped some pop culture trends and some points of innovation - all of that is meaningful and they deserve credit - they are a great company.
But they didn't move the needle that much and we'd be in roughly the same position otherwise.
Tesla has always been a bet that a tech company can learn to make cars faster than car companies can learn to make tech. Moves like VW's push the latter aggressively, while Tesla is taking longer to scale its car production, giving credence to the idea that the electric car the average person drives twenty years from now will not be a Tesla.
And if that's the case, can Tesla justify its corporate valuation? Comparing Tesla's stock to other automakers, the markets have priced in an expectation of rapid earnings growth; the stock will plummet if those expectations can't be met.
They have been selling and experimenting with electric cars for a very long time.
Nobody has 'copied' anything that Tesla has done, they've done it on their own terms and sales have been picking up especially in Europe for a long time.
Tesla added some enthusiasm and pop culture flavour to the moment, but they didn't change anything. At most, they accelerated the timeline by a few years.
One crucial mistake they all made was focusing on the low-end, where the technology just wasn't viable/practical and couldn't be made viable/practical in one step.
Tesla's genius was focusing on the high end first and letting that trickle down. Starting with a car that didn't have to be practical to be viable.
Millions of EV's are sold by companies that didn't copy or follow Tesla.
I agree with your assessment of how Tesla 'did it' - but other companies were 'doing it' at the same time.
He is a pop culture icon now, and that's marketing that money can't buy.
They're an upper middle class status symbol now. It's likely gonna take a solid decade of something being better for that to change. As long as the product is at least arguably competitive they'll be fine.
Their brand power is not going to be enough for them to live in a very well established industry of premium and regular brands.
Tesla will do fine, I think they will be a legit new car company, but that's just it: 'another' auto player.
Forget BMW. They had a lead with the i3, which they squandered. Their latest EV is the Mini One Electric, which is a rebranded i3. BMW dropped the ball.
No decent future lineup of EVs. More importantly, no planned investment in battery factories. BMW is dead in the water, with a lag behind Tesla of 5-10 years.
VW is the first brand I see with a less than five year lag behind Tesla. Battery production capacity is a good metric for how much of a competition each manufacturer is. VW should catch up to Tesla a bit before 2025, assuming no delays and assuming no ramp-up of Tesla Gigafactory investment.
But it's a massive, massive industry. Maybe the biggest. 5 years is a blip.
The 'brand value' of BMW is going nowhere, same can be said for 'all the other brands'.
The industry will catch up, brand by brand, at which point it remains to be seen what Tesla will look like in the mix.
My prediction is that it's a 2cnd tier player, but they are growing fast, they could put themselves in the position of being a major player no doubt. But I don't see the other brands changing that much in terms of status.
After how they acted in New York City, I can't believe any city would even pick up their calls.