The bespoke Kia Soul EV Boardmasters Edition has been designed with surfers in mind, featuring wooden decking in the rear and a swing-out arm to dry damp wetsuits.
Kia has revealed the Soul EV Boardmasters Edition, a cool one-off version of the company’s electric crossover which was designed to meet the needs of surfers.
The bespoke Soul EV was created as part of Kia’s partnership with the Cornish surfing and music festival, Boardmasters, and will be on display at the event between 11–15 August. If only the Kia Soul EV was available in Australia, we might have our own Bells Beach version.
Kia’s surf-oriented upgrades for the Boardmasters Edition include lifted suspension and new 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in Maxxis Bighorn sand tyres, which the company says are renowned for their use in cross-country races and rally raids.
The upgrades have more than doubled the Soul EV’s ground clearance from 153mm to 310mm – perfect for tackling the kind of sandy or rocky terrain you might encounter on your way to the beach.
Kia’s engineers have also built a custom steel roof rack, which has been specifically designed to accommodate a pair of 7ft 9in Tahe Bic Malibu surfboards. The rack also houses a pair of LED spotlights and a solar panel, which is powerful enough to run a mini fridge or charge the driver’s phone, independently of the car’s main battery pack.
The beach-focussed upgrades continue inside. Kia has gutted the rear seats and replaced them with a new wooden deck. As an added benefit, Kia says the panelling traps sand and prevents it from falling into hard-to-reach nooks within the cabin.
The rear of the vehicle also has a fold-out bench and a swing-out arm which extends from the roof of the cabin and provides somewhere to dry damp wetsuits or, by draping a towel over it, a more private changing area.
Up front, little has changed over the standard car. The Boardmasters Edition comes with the same 10.25-inch infotainment system and Harman/Kardon 10-speaker stereo system, which Kia says negates the need for drivers to bring a portable speaker to the beach.
The Boardmasters Edition’s powertrain is identical to the standard Kia Soul EV, comprising a 150kW electric motor and a 64kWh battery pack. However, Kia says the rugged upgrades will have likely trimmed a few miles off the standard car’s 450km maximum range figure.
Kia has also tried to build the Boardmasters Edition as ecologically as possible. So, rather than plucking a brand new Soul EV off the production line for the project, only to rip apart to fit the modifications, Kia decided to recycle one of its pre-production cars.
The new steel roof rack was designed to be recycled once it reaches the end of its useful life, while the car’s wooden deck is made from sustainably felled spruce wood. The fold out bench in the rear is also made from reclaimed wood.
This is the second time Kia has taken one of its pre-production mules and turned it into a one-off concept. The brand’s previous effort was the Kia Stinger GT420, which is a hardcore track-focused version of the Stinger GT S.
Its birth was a little cheeky, too, as regulations state that pre-production cars have to be crushed once they’re finished with. But Kia didn’t want all of its hard work to go to waste, so the brand claims to have bent those rules with “an unfortunate and mysterious delay in creating the required paperwork.”