Novela Solarpunk 011

As the number of produced EVTOL’s rose from “hundreds” to “hundreds of thousands” the learning curve kicked in. That’s a phenomenon of manufacturing that was first observed during World War Two in the aerospace industry. It’s a “law” similar to Moore’s law in digitalization. Every time the production of a product doubles, the cost per unit goes down. For the aerospace industry this rate is roughly 20% for every doubling. Once production rates reached 400.000 units per year, the cost of a single electric plane had come down to 500.000 EUR. Flights became fully autonomous, so you saved the pilots’ salaries. And “fuel” consumption wasn’t even a consideration. An EVTOL uses about 100 kilowatt hours of clean electricity per 100 kilometers of flight. At a price of one to five cents per kilowatt hour that amounts to a total cost of only two to five Euro per hundred kilometers. Add all these benefits together and a single seat in an electric plane becomes considerably cheaper than the same trip with a modern car.

Few people understood what this meant: Real equalization. Arvo’s children now had the same prospects, the same opportunities, and joys available as the children of someone living in Stockholm or Sankt Petersburg. The same was true for the children of parents living in Kabaka, Ghana compared to kids living in Ghana’s capital Accra. (Population 4.2 million, 57 minutes flight from Kabaka, 11 hours by car.). 

And that was important to Arvo. Because he believed that everyone in the world was entitled to a good and happy life. And more importantly: A life that fit their personal definition of “happy” – and not someone else’s idea, no matter how well meaning they might be.

The great German sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf wrote: “Options are choices given in social structures, alternatives of action.” Translated into language that human beings could understand, it simply meant this: “We all live together in this world. How free we really are, depends not only on our legal rights to “be whoever we want to be”- but also on the real-world choices that are available to us.” Or in even simpler terms: “Teach a person how to fish and you feed him every day” is only true if you also give them a fishing rod, hook, and bait.

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