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Disaster shelter? Mars rover? Nope, it’s an RV one man built for his daughter

The EleMMent Palazzo may be the world’s most expensive RV, but chances are it’s nowhere near as capable as this latest exercise in vehicular hyperbole.

Designed and built by Bran Ferren, co-founder and chief creative officer of tech firm Applied Minds, the KiraVan is a globe-trotting expedition vehicle with go-anywhere ability of a mountain goat, and the accoutrements of a luxury spaceship.

According to Wired, Ferren built this unusual vehicle so he could explore the world with his daughter, Kira. That’s something many parents probably want to do with their kids, but most probably don’t have the financial or intellectual resources to make that happen.

Related: Land Rover settles on a U.S.-bound Defender design

Ferren got the idea while working as a Hollywood location scout. He became interested in vehicles built for long-distance travel, and even turned a Mercedes-Benz Unimog into the “MaxiMog,” which was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The MaxiMog was just a warm up, though. The KiraVan is also based on a Unimog chassis, but with three axles and part-time six-wheel drive, it resembles a high-tech tractor trailer.

That size shouldn’t be a problem off road, though. The KiraVan is equipped with 46-inch tires with Kevlar shields, and a nitrogen-hydraulic suspension system. Ferren claims his creation can traverse a 45-degree slope.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If it does get stuck, there’s a variety of communication systems and an aircraft-style emergency beacon to summon help.

Power comes from a Mercedes diesel engine with around 260 hp. It can get the KiraVan up to 70 mph in four-wheel drive mode; it’s limited to 30 mph in six-wheel drive. Range is estimated at 2,000 miles.

The KiraVan will do all of that with an interior that’s more luxurious than most apartments. It even has a pop-up tent for Kira, as well as a shock-absorbing seat for her in the cab.

The project isn’t quite finished, but the Ferrens hope to get rolling later this year. The plan is to tour North America and Europe, presumably without sticking to the interstates and motorways.

(Images © Applied Minds, LLC)

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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