“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.”
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.