I partially agree with you, in that I don't believe that environmental benefits are going to be the ultimate reason that people choose to purchase electric vehicles. I have always found the ecological argument for EV's to be overstated anyway.
The issue for consumers is price and performance. Do they have a better driving experience and/or do they save money by switching from an ICE car to an EV?
You make the point about the instant torque and superior handling, this seems to be true from all the reports I am hearing from EV owners. I have never driven one so I can not comment from experience, but I do know that high performance, high horsepower machines across many industries use electric drive trains, and they don't do it for ecological reasons. Freight train locomotives, big ships, drilling rigs, all these machines use electric motors because they offer precise control and incredible horsepower. Yes these machines are generally attached to diesel or gas generators to provide the electricity, but most of the electrical grid is powered by fossil fuels as well. I am confident that EV cars can provide the same type of superior driving performance while eliminating messy engine oil and transmissions.
Price wise, considering that electricity is roughly 20% the cost of gasoline, miles driven that avoid the use of gasoline save the driver substantial amounts of money. Say your daily commute from home to the office is under 20 miles and can be completely run off the batteries and if you can charge at both locations then the driver can almost entirely avoid the use of fuel and that is a huge saving. This is where I believe the compelling argument for EV's can be made.
I don't think that marketing EV's as a luxury good is a recipe for mass market penetration. I appreciate what Tesla has been able to achieve, and as a market innovator they have to go extra lengths to get traction in the market and I applaud their success. But luxury goods are by nature niche markets. Tesla recognizes this as well so it will be interesting to see how their next gen, lower cost models do.
I also hold firm to the idea that EV's should be defined by the electric drive train and not by being solely battery powered. Limiting the definition of EV to the batteries is an ideological distinction, not an engineering distinction. PHEV's still offer substantial fuel savings and driving performance gains without sacrificing the ability to perform in high horsepower and long distance applications.