Secret Porsche Renndienst van revealed – and it’s electric

  • Porsche electric van concept designed in 2018 but never shown to the public
  • Amazing looks, plus six-seater interior with central driving position
  • Could this be Porsche’s secret rival to the Volkswagen ID.7 Buzz Cargo concept

Porsche is famous for building sportscars, but as this previously unseen van concept reveals, it does sometimes experiment with the idea of creating something even more practical than its popular range of SUVs.

Called the Porsche vision Renndienst, this Porsche van concept dates from 2018 and, just in case your eyebrows weren’t high enough already, it’s powered by an electric motor, rather than a powerful petrol or diesel engine.

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Why would Porsche build a van?

Well, the reality is that it probably wouldn’t. But as Volkswagen fans will tell you, there have been distinctively Porsche-liveried versions of early Transporter models, which served as Porsche race support vehicles.

Porsche vision Renndienst electric van concept, 2018, front view with Porsche race service VW Transporter, 2020

As you can see from the pictures, the 2018 Porsche van concept clearly took its colour-inspiration from these well known VWs. But more than that, the Renndienst name given to the Porsche vision van translates from German as ‘race service’ – this really is a modern interpretation of this idea.

It’s also a little more than this, however, as the Porsche chose to imagine the concept van as a potential six-seater. In other words, it’s a kind of experimental expression of what a Porsche MPV or people carrier might look like.

A Porsche MPV?

Porsche has released very little information about the vision Renndienst to go with the pictures, but has described this ‘space shuttle’ as ‘family-friendly’, and an exercise that ‘shows how the Porsche design DNA with its characteristic surface modelling can be transferred to an unknown vehicle segment for the brand’.

Porsche vision Renndienst electric van concept, 2018, dead-on rear view, red, 2020

Interestingly, you can clearly see that the bootlid is labelled 'Sport Tourer', which would perhaps have been the proper name for any production model.

The interior is described as ‘modular’ and – most unusually, the driver’s seat is in the middle rather at the front, with a passenger seat on either side. This is the sort of arrangement we’ve only ever seen on the road in McLaren supercars.

The rear side windows don’t look like they’d give passengers in the back much of a view out, but Porsche says there is ‘unexpectedly generous space’ inside. Supposedly it would have been fun to drive like a Porsche, too.

Any word on the electric motor or performance?

No specifics are given – it’s just a concept after all, and as far we known only a 1:1 scale model was built. Porsche has simply announced that the concept van would be electric drive, with all the technology located under the body. Hence the impressive interior space.

Does it remind you of anything?

With the proportions and the tech, we can’t help but be reminded of the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo concept – an all-electric VW van that was revealed to the public in 2018.

This uses the Volkswagen Group’s dedicated electric vehicle platform (known as MEB) and is heading to production as the Volkswagen ID.7. Porsche is part of the Volkswagen Group, and we wonder if the sportscar maker might have been riffing on this new platform when thinking about the Renndienst.

VW ID Buzz Cargo concept (ID.7), in Racing Service livery

Perhaps it was decided that too many electric van concepts would be bad for the public message surrounding the ID Buzz Cargo. It’s notable that the ID Buzz Cargo concept has subsequently appeared in a Racing Service livery as well.

Is Porsche going to build an electric van?

Vans are a key growth and profit area for a lot of carmakers at the moment, but we can’t see Porsche going quite that far… Certainly there are no plans right now. But we suppose anything is possible.

Porsche vision Renndienst electric van concept, 2018, rear view, red, 2020

Still, we’re only seeing the Porsche Renndienst now as part of Porsche Unseen, a series of revelations about 15 previously secret Porsche concepts dating from 2005 to 2019, which the firm has been showing off on social media using the #PorscheUnseen hashtag.

Also read:

>> The Parkers guide to electric vans

>> Future electric vans coming soon – including the VW ID.7

>> Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo revealed