This week on May 25, Toyota announced that it had made a strategic investment in Uber, the popular ridesharing company. At Renewz, we are heavily researching and examining the ways that digital technology is disrupting established industries, particularly in our solar space. The collaboration of the number one automaker in the world taking a share of arguably an up and coming software company makes this a strategic hybrid of a deal. Uber maintains little in the way of physical assets, their strength is in their ability to connect drivers and riders through a fantastic customer experience.
At Renewz, we are examining how this level of partnership and disruption helps accelerate our cause of advancing solar solutions, both in our current iSun solar carport models and in our future products across the solar and renewable spectrum. We are proponents of the fact that software, data, and user experience are ultimately the crucial elements of any next-generation product, whether physical or digital. For example, compare a standard Toyota in-dash computer with that of a Tesla. Go look at forums for Tesla owners, and you quickly find the Tesla Model X or Model S owners say that their car is nothing more than a computer on wheels.
So how does the Toyota & Uber partnership matter for renewable and solar products? It’s a showcase example of how any producer of products needs to take into account a meaningful digital experience. The product needs to be well designed, easy to install, and most important, easy to connect. Things like advanced electric vehicle charging based on data, solar structure position optimization based on potential output, and even the ability to report solar output in real time are now all necessary elements. It’s become a junction of the physical and digital world, the physical manufacturers of products that recognize this early, as Toyota has just done, will be the ultimate winners in the future.