A renowned inventor recently took on his ultimate challenge — fatherhood. What he developed for his young daughter leaves Tonka trucks and tricycles in the dust.
The KiraVan — named for inventor Bran Ferren’s daughter Kira — is a 51,000 pound monster of an expedition vehicle that will make grown men drool with lust but takes “the needs and safety of a child” into consideration.
Currently under construction by Ferren’s company Applied Minds, which built the also-badass MaxiMog expedition system in the early 2000’s, the KiraVan is the most remarkable vehicle concept we’ve seen.
“Preliminary conceptual work on the KiraVan began in 2010 as a natural follow on to the original MaxiMog expedition system,” reports Applied Minds. “After 15 years, it was time for something creatively new that reflects what is technically possible now and benefits from what we learned.”
“Not coincidentally, the timing of this activity was also triggered by the arrival of our wonderful daughter, Kira, and the realization that accommodating the needs and safety of a child presents many new design considerations.”
Lucky girl! But while the Kiravan takes kid-friendly features into consideration, this is no child’s toy.
The KiraVan is built on a truck chassis and pulled by a modified Mercedes-Benz Unimog U500NA tractor with a Mercedes-Benz 6-cylinder in-line 260HP high-efficiency intercooled turbo-diesel with 700ft-lbs of torque.
Amazingly, this beast gets 11 miles per gallon over average terrain, with a 170 gallon diesel capacity giving a range of up to 2,000 miles. The fuel system and tanks are heated for extreme cold and bio-fuel use and incorporate extensive filtration capabilities.
The range of scientific instrumentation, communications devices and imaging equipment onboard would make a TV truck swoon with envy. Two 25kW diesel generators, high-current battery banks and a solar battery charging system power embedded, server, and portable computers, wireless satellite broadband, a series of GNSS receivers, multiple communications systems for voice and data, air conditioning and heating, fire protection and security systems, communications and imaging masts, remote vehicle control and a lot more.
And it’s got a coffee maker! Well, we assume so. The vehicle can store enough food, water, and expendables to support a crew of 3 people for 3 weeks without re-provisioning.
It even comes with its own motorcycle, the Kirabike, an on-road/off-road design powered by a 3-cylinder diesel engine that gets 100-miles per gallon.
The entire vehicle weighs a whopping 51,700 lbs. when fully loaded and has an off-highway limit of 42,500 lbs.
The price of the vehicle hasn’t been divulged just yet, but honestly, if you have to ask you probably can’t afford it. Ferren has acknowledged that that this incredible vehicle will cost in the (plural) millions.
So if you need a spaceship on earth capable of climbing up 45-degree slopes and functional in pretty much any environment on the planet and probably a lot of others, too, look no farther. Just get your checkbook ready.
See page 2 for annotated images of the KiraVan