The Renndienst is a six-seat MPV inspired by the Volkswagen racing service van that was once used as a service vehicle for the factory racing team, Porsche says. It is infused with the Porsche DNA in terms of functionality, aesthetics and the soul that would make its owner forge an unbreakable bond with it. Unlike most concepts envisioned for the autonomous future, the Renndienst strives to be different, in that it won’t be trade versatility and functionality for personality.
The interior of the Renndienst van is the result of a year-long collaboration between Porsche chief designer Michael Mauer, head of interior design Markus Auerbach and director of UX design Ivo van Hulten. It was created from the inside out, with the goal of not trading in form for function. Van Hulten says it was created for the client of tomorrow, much younger and more technologically-savvy than the Porsche owner of today. This client wants a vehicle that can change with the trends but at the same time, he wants a space he can personalize.
With seating for six, the Renndienst has a central driver’s seat, because Mauer doesn’t believe the drivers of tomorrow will want to give up the driving experience altogether. When the van is in fully-autonomous mode, the seat swivels to face the cabin and, thus, an intimate, almost lounge-like space is created.
Auerbach, on the other hand, doesn’t believe analog controls are going away, so the van combines analog and digital controls, because with the former, you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. Two generously-sized displays hang below the dashboard, but they serve as entertainment screens for the passengers in the first row of seats (the two independent seats), and they can be hidden away when not in use.
The third row also brings to mind comparisons to a lounge: it’s a bench with three seats with rounded corners, which allow occupants to turn slightly (but comfortably) to the side to face the other passengers on the bench. The idea is that is this space can feel comfy like a living room or as practical as your home office, but on the road.
Materials used for the interior would be of the future, as well. Porsche doesn’t go into specifics for each item inside the cabin, but it does say renewables such as wood could be integrated, as well as metals and sustainable plastics. The automotive industry is slow to catch up here, but various automakers have already started using recycled or upcycled plastics in their interiors, so Porsche makes a valid point. Smart materials, which “respond to external factors and light up without being directly illuminated or materials that repeatedly change their shapes to perfectly fit the ergonomics of the occupants,” would also be used, with the ultimate goal of finding the right combination between luxurious and sustainable.
The Renndienst is meant as a “protective capsule” that offers varied functionality, comfort and practicality, and plenty of cool style, the marque explains. It is a “sense of space with a soul” because, regardless of how much technology you pack into it, a car will always be a physical object that humans bond with, relate to, and personify to a certain degree. This is the future Porsche dreams of at night.