At the Porsche Development Center in Weissach, Germany, work Ivo van Hulten, Director of User Experience (UX) Design, Michael Mauer, Director of Design, and Markus Auerbach, Director of Interior Design. The three are in charge of creating cabins that are a reference in the automotive world according to a series of premises.
Novel and practical interiors
Some of their proposals have been collected in the Porsche Unseen book, which includes 15 design prototypes that until now were secret. Among them, the Renndienst stands out, a minivan for up to six passengers, whose name refers to the Volkswagen Transporter Renndienst.
In order to create an interior that stands out, you have to ask yourself the following questions: is it modular enough to adapt to new life circumstances a few years after purchase? Can I do remote updates at any time?
One of the keys that will be most in-demand refers to modularity. When driving, the command post should be similar to that of any other car. But when this is not the case, the driver's seat can be rotated 180 degrees and oriented towards the rest of the passengers. This is an idea that designers call basic but have still been developing for about a year.
Another feature refers to the already essential digital lifestyle and the relationship between driver, passengers, and vehicle, something that has already been implemented to some extent in the Taycan, where "we have shown to what extent we are capable of thinking ahead" says Van Hulten, 43, who adds, "We are now working on what may be the next comprehensive innovation. To do this, we have thought and worked from the inside out."
Another feature on the horizon is an asymmetrical side window design that allows one side to be closed and passengers can gather into it, while the other has a large glass panel that allows one to look out. In this way, when the doors are closed, the cabin gives the feeling of being a protective capsule, the designers point out.
The goal is to create a feeling of protection and comfort for a modular interior. Front row passengers sit left and right in ergonomic bucket seats. In this way, they enjoy an unobstructed view ahead and towards their own dashboard displays. The headrests on the rear bench are floating, allowing you to look out the rear window. This configuration is possible thanks to the electric propulsion technology, hidden in the lower part, which allows optimizing the habitability of the vehicles.
As for materials, the bet is focused, how could it be otherwise, on sustainability, with renewable raw materials such as wood, but now reinterpreted and combined with recycled metals or plastics.
If the wood was banished from vehicles years ago, it could soon make its return, they say, along with so-called smart materials, which have special characteristics, such as reactions to external factors. They can illuminate themselves without receiving direct light or repeatedly change shape and thus adapt to the ergonomic needs of the occupants.
Another aspect of the cockpits is that in the future, they say, there will continue to be switches and buttons. In fact, the balance between analog and digital control panels will be sought.
In the driving position of the vehicle, the touch buttons are perfect because you do not have to take your eyes off the road. However, that may change if one day I need to do much less as a driver, that is with the arrival of the autonomous car.