No. Wrong. Sorry.
Tesla is not just trying to mass produce cars. They are trying to mass produce profitable EVs, something that the others simply can not do.
> Why would Mercedes or BMW or Audi try to compete with Tesla directly right now?
My very argument is that they are not competing at the moment.
> The others are just doing R&D while Tesla is selling cars. But it's still hard to see Tesla having a market share in EVs in 15 years time that justifies it's current valuation.
Why? Unless you believe Tesla makes somehow fundamentally worse cars then everybody else, there is no reason why the other manufactures should have an easy time boxing Tesla out of the market once the have major mass production of their cars set up. They are not magic.
Tesla will have a huge established direct to end user sales force, a massive charging network, a well integrated app and software stack that will help costumers to their brand and a positive public image.
And my argument is that that's by choice rather than by inability.
Also there is a large amount of overlap between mass producing electric cars and mass producing combustion cars.
Finally, there is no question that Tesla has the potential to be a competitive car manufacturer. Let's say they are super successful and gain a market-share comparable to BMW. I'd say that's a top end scenario for Tesla. It has a good Brand but so do its competitors.
But Tesla is valued at the same level as BMW _right now_. I just don't see that. There certainly is downside risk, but I just really fail to see the upside potential. What should enable Tesla to grab a larger market share than BMW? Or Audi? Or Toyota? Nevermind the Chinese battery manufacturers that might want to push into the low end of the EV market.