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The World’s Most Awesome (And Expensive!) Extreme RV

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

Many off-road extreme RV models will take you where you want to go, but we’re pretty sure that none can match the capabilities of the KiraVan® Expedition System.

This extreme RV was designed for a six-year-old girl.

KiraVan extreme RV

Geek out on the KiraVan Extreme RV

With 260 horsepower, 700ft-lb of torque and a 30-degree side-to-side articulating fifth wheel trailer hitch, the world’s only 6×6 wheel drive tractor trailer can scale the farthest reaches of the planet. Occupants can work, play, eat and sleep for up to three weeks at a time inside, while outside temperatures range from -30 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meet the world’s only 6×6 wheel drive RV.

KiraVan extreme RV

There’s just one thing wrong with the KiraVan extreme RV: you’ll never be able to buy it.

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That’s because it’s the long-awaited creation of Bran Ferren, a visionary inventor with a jaw-dropping career as a scientist, engineer, artist, designer and architect. Unfortunately his flagship KiraVan Expedition System will never be available to the public – not just because of the wild price tag (reliable sources guess that it cost about $22 million dollars to build) but because it wasn’t made for the masses.

The entry stairs alone cost $26,000.

KiraVan extreme RV

KiraVan was built to showcase capabilities of the tech and design gurus at Applied Minds, Ferren’s design think-tank that’s world famous for developing breakthrough science, health and military technologies ranging from the world’s first exoskeleton “aging suit” to the Google autocomplete feature that eerily knows what you’re about to finish typing in the search box.

Too bad: this extreme RV is not for sale.

KiraVan extreme RV

Scientist. Inventor. Genius. Meet KiraVan’s creator.

KiraVan extreme RV

Ferren says he built the KiraVan extreme RV as a platform to spotlight the technologies his company builds for clients like Northrup Grumman and the US Army. But more importantly, the 62-year old former president of Walt Disney Imagineering says he made it happen so that he and his six year-old daughter, Kira, can safely roam the planet together.

There’s a rooftop penthouse for Ferren’s daughter.

KiraVan extreme RV

KiraVan Has a Coming Out Party

The KiraVan wasn’t quite finished when the very likable Ferren and his four-person crew trucked it from Applied Minds’ Southern California headquarters to make its debut at the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association trade expo in Las Vegas. However Ferren said his long-anticipated rig is about 90% complete.

Take command of the cockpit at your own risk.

KiraVan extreme RV

“Every time I do a project it leaves and I don’t have anything to show others,” Ferren said while greeting spectators at the expo. Now, the KiraVan gives Ferren a whole lot to show for his company’s efforts. “If you can think of it, it’s in there,” he says.

Ferren left no technology behind.

KiraVan extreme RV

As cool as KiraVan looks on the outside, Applied Minds’ purchasing manager Tito Herrera perfectly summed it up when he told us: “What’s even more impressive is the technology inside.”

See what KiraVan is made of.

KiraVan extreme RV

The KiraVan Tractor

Engine power: A modified Mercedes-Benz Unimog U500NA with a Mercedes-Benz 6-cylinder in-line 260HP high-efficiency intercooled turbo-diesel engine

Power systems: Twin, hushed 25kW diesel engines and two modular high-current battery banks with static inverters and UPS systems. A solar battery charging system with two 570 amp and one 285 amp alternators.

Powertrain: Eight speed (6-reverse gears) manual and automatic transmission and two power take off units that drive the hydraulics systems.

A self-inflation system refills all tires on the go.

KiraVan extreme RV

Self-inflating tires. The Central Tire Inflation system and hydraulic air compressor let you refill all six, 46” 300-pound tires while driving – in under five minutes!

Diesel contamination monitoring. If any bad fuel gets pumped into the 170-gallon tanks, a monitor will automatically shut off the tank with the bad fuel.

The KiraVan Trailer

Off-road trailer capabilities: Includes a hydrostatically driven axle, coordinated (with the Tractor) long-throw hydro-pneumatic suspension and a 2-axis articulated fifth wheel.

The rig gets 12 miles per gallon!

KiraVan extreme RV

Situational awareness systems: Twenty-two day / night high definition cameras, microwaves and laser radars and ultrasonic rangefinders continuously monitor surroundings for approaching vehicles and other objects.

Mast systems: Multiple pneumatic masts up to 58′ tall support communications and surveillance tools that can be used while the vehicle is in motion for activities like long-range optics, night vision imagery, GIS surveying and mapping.

KiraVan bells and whistles.

KiraVan extreme RV

Water supplies: A 150 gallon fresh water tank and on-board particulate, ceramic silver anti-microbial, activated carbon, and Ultra Violet filtration systems. Also includes a reverse-osmosis, salt water desalinization filtration system.

HVAC systems: Can operate for 10 hours (heating or air-conditioning on battery power) without reliance on the main engine or generators.

Survey the situation — at night!

KiraVan extreme RV

When asked about his favorite features of the rig, Ferren first named the KiraVan’s “glass cockpit” controls. As inventor of the “pinch to zoom,” capabilities on smartphones and tablets, Ferren is clearly a fan of touchscreen technologies, so he integrated fifteen display screens (including six touch-sensitive ones) for custom software that controls every aspect of the KiraVan.

The pinch-to-zoom glass cockpit.

KiraVan extreme RV

The other favorite aspect of Ferren’s home/office on wheels? The KiraVan is modular. On-board systems are capable of being added or removed, mixed or matched to suit the expedition’s purpose – a useful design consideration for journeys of varying lengths and conditions.

Mix and match KiraVan modules for every trip.

KiraVan extreme RV

For example, the trailer has interchangable storage, housing and on-board water storage modules. Also, the tractor has modular fuel tanks so you can take just the right amount for your journey.

A swing out with just one moving part.

KiraVan extreme RV

Ferren’s one-of-a-kind Swing Out® is another breakthrough KiraVan technology that perhaps some day RV designers will replicate. “Slides are notoriously crappy,” Ferren explained. To overcome this, he designed his Swing Out rooms with just moving part: the Swing Out glides in and out while floating on a Teflon pad, making it less likely to break or become misaligned and leak. “It’s also more visually interesting,” he added.

We think you’ll agree: both galley and bathroom are well situated inside the two wedge-like slide outs on either side of the rig.

KiraVan has a full-sized kitchen.

KiraVan extreme RV

Other KiraVan components that make this extreme RV awesome include:

  • Super-insulated composite walls. Made of carbon, aramid, and fiberglass, the cabin walls have build-in RF shielding and lightning protection.
  • Self-rising roof that extends above the main cabin and doubles interior living space.

Sleeps 3 comfortably, with one in the rooftop tent.

KiraVan extreme RV
  • A portable induction cooktop you can move outdoors when the weather’s just right.
  • Incinerating toilet. The KiraVan has an Incinolet incinerating toilet in the galley, which eliminates the on-board black tank – and trips to the dump station!

Incinerating toilet eliminates a black tank.

KiraVan extreme RV

First Stop, Death Valley, then the World

Finishing touches are presently being added by Applied Minds. KiraVan should be ready to hit the road in June 2016. That’s when Ferren, his wife and daughter Kira will take it on the road for test runs in Southern California’s Death Valley then eventually, around the globe.

Style, form and function in one extreme RV.

qKiraVan extreme RV

More Extreme RV Rigs

15 Of The World’s Toughest Off-Road RVs And Expedition Vehicles

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