I remember when the Tesla was first unveiled in 2006, I ran (drove) to the Petersen Museum to see a prototype in person, and it was gorgeous.
Regarding the NYTimes blogpost, Tesla does not have other income sources it is much more committed to creating and selling electric cars sooner than the big companies which can take their time to do so. It is a matter of survival for Tesla. Ultimately their success will depend on their (and partners') ability to make the technology leaps and their management ability.
As such the giants also have learned to deal with such disruptive innovation by creating launching new vehicles (BMW MiniE, Nissan Leaf...), but not separate groups/divisions/companies that deal with all electrics while being aligned with the market. And the giants target the mainstream/existing usage market right from outset, while Tesla and others will start with specialty markets (like sports cars, golf carts...) that allow the technology to develop while giving themselves cashflow to survive and establish position (standard disruptive innovation theory you can say).
But it has taken a lot of time for Tesla to sell more of their Roadsters and the giants seem to be catching up a little - but they are still going for the mainstream market where the technology is atleast 3 to 5 years away from being mature for regular usage. The mainstream usage technology may not be ready for a while and it will be interesting to see how long the giants continue their "investment". It may give one of the all electric companies an equal or better chance of beating the existing giants or just vanish!