That time we towed a plane with a Tesla

Published on 15th May 2018 at 15:53

Never has a passenger airliner been hitched to an electric passenger vehicle for towing. Well at least until today.

On a remote taxiway at Melbourne Airport, a Tesla Model X P100D with the greatest pulling power of any electric passenger vehicle came face to face against the newest star of the Qantas fleet, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

In a world first, the all-electric SUV successfully towed the Dreamliner as part of a Guinness World Record attempt, as the heaviest tow by an electric production passenger vehicle.

While the Model X can accommodate up to seven passengers, far less than the 236 people on a Qantas Dreamliner, the Tesla punched above its weight towing the 130 tonne 787* well above its on road tow rated capacity of 2.5 tonnes

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

It’s not the first time that we’ve used an electric vehicle to tow a Qantas aircraft. We’re already using electric aircraft tugs at Sydney and Canberra. It’s part of our plan to reduce greenhouse emissions.

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.

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.

And for Tesla drivers and Qantas customers, there’s other ways to be rewarded:

  • Tesla owners who are also Frequent Flyer members will have their mileage offset both in their vehicles and in the air for the month of June with the Qantas’ Future Planet Program;
  • Supplying charging solutions with Tesla High Power Wall Connectors at Qantas Valet facilities in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide allowing Model S and Model X owners to charge whilst they travel; and
  • Collaborate to deliver innovation towards holistic sustainable transport.

It’s not the first time Qantas and Tesla have gone head to head. Remember when we raced a Boeing 737 against a Tesla Model S P90D?

*The 787 was not carrying cargo or passengers at the time. It had a small amount of fuel onboard.

CAPACITY 236 seats 5-7 seats
TOP SPEED Mach. 82 250km/h
RANGE 14,500km 565km
SIZE 63m x 60m (wingspan) 5mx 2.2m


To download hi res images click here.