This article was first was published on Qantas’ behind the scenes blog - Roo Tales. Read the original article here.


Never has a passenger airliner been hitched to an electric passenger vehicle for towing. Well at least not until May 15, 2018.

On a remote taxiway at Melbourne Airport (MEL), Australia, a Tesla Model X P100D with the greatest pulling power of any electric passenger vehicle came face to face against the newest member 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 tons 787* well above its on road tow rated capacity of 2.5 tons.

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



It is not the first time that Qantas has used an electric vehicle to tow one of the carrier’s aircraft. Qantas is already using electric aircraft tugs at Sydney and Canberra. It is part of the airline’s 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.

By the way, Qantas and Tesla have gone head to head before. In April 2016, Qantas raced its Boeing 737 against a Tesla Model S P90D on a three kilometer runway at Avalon Airport (AVV), southwest of Melbourne.

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