IF PR stunts can become clichéd, cars pulling jumbo jets has surely reached that status after Qantas and Tesla released footage yesterday showing a Tesla Model X P100D towing a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Qantas called it a world first, with the all-electric SUV successfully towing the Dreamliner as part of a Guinness World Record attempt; the heaviest tow by an electric production passenger vehicle.
The company said the 787 was not carrying cargo or passengers at the time but had a small amount of fuel onboard, and weighed 130 tonnes.
Despite a rated on-road tow capacity of 2.5-tonnes, the Tesla managed to use all of the torque available from its dual electric motors to pull the 787 almost 300 metres.
Wait for it pic.twitter.com/mR13wIIu1r
— Tesla (@Tesla) May 15, 2018
While this was impressive, and undoubtedly a first for electric road cars, similar stunts are not unusual.
In 2007, TV show Fifth Gear used a diesel VW Touareg to pull a 155-tonne Boeing 747.
In 2013, a Toyota Tundra pick-up was used to pull the 145-tonne Endeavour space shuttle.
Also in 2013, a Nissan Patrol pick-up was used to pull a 170-tonne cargo plane, setting a new Guinness World Record.
Then in 2017, Porsche GB smashed that record by towing a 285-tonne Airbus A380 over a distance of 42-metres using a Cayenne S Diesel at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
We’ve even seen humans pull aeroplanes, as pointed out by someone on Twitter.
At low speed even a human can pull it pic.twitter.com/8JIRNL7vO5
— Francis (@PHosterFrancis) May 15, 2018
A real challenge would be for marketers to discover more original heavy objects to tow.