Perfectionists rejoice! Porsche recently revealed a concept interior for an all-electric six-passenger van with a symmetrical interior. Granted, the layout is unconventional, and will likely never see production. But the inspiration and philosophies behind the Renndienst are unique, to say the least.
Porsche describes it as “the interior of the future”
The first thing anyone would notice is the one and only front seat. Centered in the cabin, it would the driver a full view while operating the car. But his front seat isn’t just a seat, it’s a captain’s chair. And when the driver no longer wishes to drive, they can swivel to face the passengers.
The whole concept was designed around autonomous driving, a vaporwave term for technology that doesn’t really exist yet, as well as the overall passenger experience. And this captain’s chair is just one of the features integrating that idea. The two dashboard screens serve as the side view mirrors, both of which are equally visible. And because of the center-mounted front seat, the passengers in the second row get an unobstructed view of the road.
Granted, we said “almost entirely symmetrical.” Split the interior down the middle, from the steering wheel to the trunk, and you’ll notice a few differences. One minor detail is the gas and brake pedals, which wouldn’t make sense if they were mounted any other way. But more significant than that, the sliding doors open on one side of the car. The other half is entirely enclosed, which Porsche says the occupants can “retreat to.”
So it’s a strange electric van that’ll never get made, but would it interest you to know that this unconventional concept was inspired by an old Volkswagen Type 2?
The Renndienst was inspired by an old Volkswagen Bus
This isn’t just any VW Bus, it’s Porsche’s Rennsport Racing service vehicle. With a split roof and red livery, the Bus carried all the tools they’d need to fix any problems on the track. And certain flatbed variations were built to transport the cars to and from races. The concept inspired by it, while still a van, wouldn’t be used as a service vehicle.
If this electric concept ever did make it to production, Porsche could use it as a transport vehicle for their Formula E team. Capable of fitting all the drivers inside, the Renndienst could serve as the perfect means to that end. But, as mentioned, this concept is and always will be a concept. But that doesn’t mean the Renndienst or even the Volkswagen Bus for that matter will be gone for good.
On sale in 2023, the Volkswagen ID Buzz combines the electric powertrain of the Renndienst concept with the manufacturability of the Bus. In other words, unlike the Renndienst, it’s actually being built.
The Volkswagen ID Buzz takes a few pages from the Bus and the Renndienst
In Europe, the Volkswagen Buzz electric van will come as both a passenger and a cargo vehicle. In the states, however, it’ll only come as a passenger van. And while the styling cues and namesake of the Buzz are heavily inspired by the bus, the interior shares more in common with the Renndienst
No, there isn’t a single captain’s chair in the front. I’ll eat a sock if that design choice ever gets put in a production car. But the Buzz does feature a highly adjustable cabin. The front seats can swivel around to face the rear passengers, just like in the Renndienst, and on top of that, every row can be adjusted or folded to make more cargo space.
The Renndienst is creative, and the Bus is groovy, but put them together and you get a passenger van that’s sure to be all the Buzz… pun absolutely intended.