Cars are cheap because nearly everybody in this country needs a car. You need a car to get to work, you need it to get to school and you need it for recreation. Sure, if you happen to live in a major city there is also mass transit, but for a large percentage of the population a car is a necessary reality.
Now, with that being said - what happens when something is produced in such great numbers? Economies of scale - the price is driven down due to mass production. Vehicles that cost $13,000 USD are a reality and they're not half bad either. A pretty decent car can be purchased for $20,000, and a really good car for $30,000. Luxury vehicles are nearly anything $40,000 and above.
What about electric cars? They aren't mass produced in any great number just yet, because so far everyone is content with dropping $13,000 on a car that's just "good enough" for their needs. Why do I need an electric vehicle? What benefit does it give me _right now_? Fuel costs decrease significantly, yes - but enough to offset the price of the car? Probably not, even over the lifetime of the vehicle. Therein lies the problem.
Electric vehicles - especially from a non-big 3 startup - are something I believe the government should assist. Your tax dollars are helping fund the future, because while you may not be able to afford this vehicle at $50,000, you might be able to afford the next car they produce using the profits of the Model S.
When the world is filled with "good enough" and people who like "good enough" - how do you convince people to switch to something better?