Tesla Drag-Races Boeing 737, and Guess Who Wins

We’ll give you a hint: It’s the one whose speed is measured in Mach numbers.

byWill Sabel Courtney| PUBLISHED Apr 5, 2016 1:55 PM
Tesla Drag-Races Boeing 737, and Guess Who Wins

The Tesla Model S P90D and the Boeing 737-800 are more or less diametrically opposed when it comes to how they accelerate. The instant-on torque of the Tesla's electric motors let it bolt off the line like the Road Runner on meth, but the motors' power curve and the car's sole forward gear mean the Model S runs out of pep well before gas-powered cars making similar amounts of power will. The Boeing 737, on the other hand, builds speed the way a man steps into a hot jacuzzi on a winter night—but once it's rolling, those turbofan engines keep on spooling up until the plane is soaring through the skies at Mach 0.8.

So the end result of this Tesla-vs.-Boeing race, held by Qantas Airways to celebrate the new partnership between the Australian flag carrier and the California-based electric car maker, is never really in doubt. After all, almost every plane-versus-car race will wind up the same way if it runs long enough: sooner or later, the plane takes off, at which point even the dullest twin-engine turboprop will leave a supercar in the dust. The interaction between a fast-moving object and the air around it is an airplane's friend and a car's enemy.

Still...there's something so damn entertaining about watching these two marvels of modern technology face off side-by-side and blast down their respective runways.