Tesla Model X electric vehicle tows Qantas Dreamliner jet

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Tesla Model X tows a Qantas Dreamliner jet some 300 metres across the tarmac. Why? For publicity, of course, and because they could.

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“We towed a plane”, said the Tesla PR blurb.

And indeed they did. At Melbourne’s Tullarmarine airport on Tuesday, a Tesla Model X P100D was hitched up to a Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, and successfully completed what is billed as the “heaviest tow by an electric production passenger vehicle.”

Why? Marketing, of course. And because they could. And because they might get into the Guinness Book of Records.

You can watch a video of the tow here.

It should be noted that the plane had no cargo on board, and just a limited amount of fuel. Still it weighed 130 tonnes, a lot more than the rated tow capacity of the Model X of just 2.5 tonnes.

The companies said dual electric motors generated a huge amount of torque, powering the Model X with enough strength to tow the 787 almost 300 metres.

“Never has a passenger airliner been hitched to an electric passenger vehicle for towing. Well at least until today,” a Qantas statement said, before adding that it does use electric aircraft tugs to move planes around at Sydney and Canberra airports.

“With more than 10,000 pieces of Qantas ground services equipment like catering trucks, aircraft loaders and other vehicles all running on diesel, even just a small shift to electric power will have an enormous impact in the move to a sustainable future,” it says.

“That’s why we’re continuing to collaborate with our friends at Tesla, driving innovation for our customers and increasing sustainability in the transport industry.”

 

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8 Comments
  1. George Darroch 4 months ago

    Nice stunt. Will Qantas follow through with action and electrify their ground operations?

    After all, aviation is responsible for a large and growing proportion of Australia and the world’s carbon emissions, with no alternative to avgas in sight.

  2. Chris Fraser 4 months ago

    Its great news, but for everyday work Tullamarine will need to spec up their own electric Model T (for ‘tug’) at Tesla.

  3. krzystofer 4 months ago

    This is an astounding feat, though it still has a way to go to break the Porsche Cayenne record for pulling a 285ton A380 last year, but this is impressive nonetheless for an electric car, something the airline industry needs to embrace, in the light of emissions running costs (and unreliable human pilots) .

    • Richard 4 months ago

      Lol! I’m sure the Tesla model X could tow a Porche Cayenne up hill backwards. You can’t beat the massive electric torque at low revs and the very low CoG of the X

  4. mick 4 months ago

    dont care about common sense on this park it in clownavans drive way

  5. Richard 4 months ago

    My God! Even Qantas wants to hitch its brand to Tesla. 🙂

    Great brands, both.

  6. palmz 4 months ago

    Pretty sure a Tesla Model X is not rated for towing 130 tonnes,

    Book them!

    Nah I kid but that’s some nice viral marketing for both company’s.

  7. Nick Kemp 4 months ago

    Airports should be a fertile market for electrification. Short range heavy vehicles that can be happily plugged in whenever they need to because they would never be more than 5km from home.

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