Qantas Airways, which owns the aircraft in question, revealed that this was the first time that a production electric vehicle towed a passenger aeroplane. But the Tesla was the first electric passenger vehicle to achieve this feat. Tesla chose to use a Model X P100D SUV to tow a Qantas 787-9 Dreamliner carrying a small amount of fuel but no passengers.
The event not only proved Tesla's towing power, but it also kick-started Qantas's new sustainability campaign, showing how innovation can increase sustainability in the transportation industry. The Model X P100D managed to pull the giant aircraft nearly 300m. The two companies met on a Melbourne Airport taxiway for the challenge.
Admittedly, there were no passengers or cargo on the plane - there was some fuel onboard - but it was still a fair way above the Model X's 2.5-tonne tow rating, nonetheless. The Tesla Model X P100D is powered by an electric motor that generates 1,072 Nm of peak torque, which is much higher than many luxury SUVs powered by the regular internal combustion engine.
Qantas and Tesla are also teaming up to better benefit their customers. The Germans retaliated with the Porsche Cayenne S Diesel previous year, which pulled a 285-tonne Airbus A380 for an impressive 73 metres. Use of electric vehicles could help the airline to cut down their emission cost on the runway.