Who would win in a race: a Boeing 737-800, with a top speed of 850km/h and 50,000 pounds of thrust — or a Tesla Model S? To inaugurate a close partnership between the two companies, Tesla Australia and Qantas pitted a jet against a Model S P90D — the world's fastest four-door sedan — and the result was a photo finish.
At Melbourne's Avalon airport, the Model S and 737 raced its three-kilometre length; the Model S had an advantage at the start thanks to its dual electric motors' all-wheel drive, while anyone that's sat on a 737 knows its circa-70,000kg weight takes a while to get moving.
Towards the end of the runway, the 737 overtook the Model S and, y'know, took off — not something that even Tesla's best electric car is very good at. But the jet's 140 knot take-off speed and the Model S' Vmax are quite close, and the race itself was a great head-to-head. Just watch the video.
From Qantas: "The Tesla was hard to catch off the start. But the 737 narrowed the gap as it barrelled down the runway. Both travelled neck and neck as the 737 reached its take-off speed of 140 knots (~260km/h) and the Tesla reached its max at around 250 kilometres an hour."
Qantas pilots Captain Steve Gist and Captain Kevin Tonge were in the 737, while the Model S was driven by V8 Supercar driver Tony d'Alberto. "The Tesla was in the shadow of the aircraft as it pulled up at the end of the runway – the clear early winner on the ground, just overtaken when the aircraft did what it was designed to do: fly."
The Qantas partnership with Tesla extends further than just one race, though — over the coming months, the two companies will work closely together and each will offer benefits to customers of the other.
There will be complimentary Qantas Club memberships for Tesla Model S owners, and Tesla will hold exclusive events for high-level Qantas frequent flyers to show "new Tesla vehicles and technology" — likely the Powerwall, Model X and Model 3.
Qantas will also install Tesla's High Power Wall Connector car chargers at its Qantas Valet areas at airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, letting Model S owners charge their cars while they travel around the country by plane. Tesla will use Qantas as the company's airline of choice within Australia, and Qantas will cover all Tesla travel with its Future Planet carbon offset program.