I've been doing a lot of research lately into Tesla's competitors... and quite frankly, there aren't any.
Tesla will become within firing range of Nissan and Chevy around 2017, but I have no doubt that the neither Detroit nor the Japanese can take the heat. The Leaf only gets around 85 miles of range, and the Volt isn't pure electric, getting only 38 miles without gas.
So far, the only REAL competitor to Tesla that I've uncovered is Fisker. The new Chinese owner, and his parent company Wanxiang, is ready to get back in the game. Even though it's been a long time since Henrik's Karma finished off production, Mr. Lu has made a promise: "I'll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust."
Detroit Electric (http://detroit-electric.com/) has vowed to create a Roadster copy-cat, even based on the same Lotus platform. I doubt they'll be able to raise the cash to reach production, and if they do, their demise ought to be quick. The name sucks, the car itself looks bland and plastic, and they've been struggling to inspire investors for a while...
Has anyone heard of any other startups joining the EV fray? I'd really be curious to see a new American automaker come from the mist to step up and put a squeeze Tesla's sales, as unlikely as that seems.
I'm not talking about automotive mainstays - Toyota, Daimler, etc. - they are moving too slow to compete, and customers remain uninspired by existing cars with green leaf graphics and plug-in ports replacing the gas flap.
If competitors were to arise, I'd like to start an open discussion on which concepts/markets they could they compete in? I would say that the luxury sedan market is far too crowded, but there's still room in SUVs or low-cost vehicles before the X and 3 reach customers. Trucks remain intriguing too, not to mention Elon Musk's future commitment to EV trucks.