KIA has put some sweet soul into the surfing scene with a one-off new special edition car.
It comes in the shape of the Soul EV Boardmasters Edition, a ‘recycled’ pre-production car saved from the crusher to instead live out its days on the beach.
Reimagined exclusively for surfers, the Soul EV Boardmasters Edition has been created to mark the launch of Boardmasters 2021 in Cornwall.
It’s because Kia UK is the automotive partner for the major surfing and music festival, which takes place across two sites on the Cornish coast – music at Watergate Bay and surf competitions on Fistral Beach, the home of British surfing.
Boardmasters takes place from August 11-15 and Kia will exhibit the Soul EV Boardmasters Edition throughout the event.
This is the second time Kia UK has rescued a pre-production vehicle from the scrap heap to create something radically different.
It follows in the footsteps of the Stinger GT420, which was first revealed in 2019 as a one-off track car.
The Soul carves a different course though, created for a more relaxing pace and fitting closely with the Boardmasters ethos of sustainability and lessening impact on the environment.
The regular Soul EV’s 64 kWh long-range battery pack and 201bhp electric motor remain unaltered, but now power a car which features a variety of new features and special modifications.
So the stock 17-inch aluminium alloy wheels and 215/55 R17 tyres have been replaced with 16-inch bright white steel wheels and chunky 265/75 R16 Maxxis Bighorn sand tyres, renowned for their use in cross-country competitions and rallies.
With each tyre growing to 30 inches in diameter, this change alone necessitated significant reworking to the bulkhead and front foot wells.
The fully independent suspension also features new custom adaptors and modified struts, with a three-inch lift to accommodate the new wheels and tyres. It also boasts a modest increase in track width.
Thanks to the raised ground clearance – more than doubled from 153mm to 310mm at the front and 320mm at the back – chunky tyres and 395Nm of torque output from its motor, the car is more able than the standard car to overcome rougher terrain and uneven ground on the way to the coast.
The significant changes to the Soul EV’s wheels, tyres and suspension are likely to affect the standard car’s official 280-mile electric range.
However, thanks to its 64 kWh battery pack and efficient motor, the Boardmasters Edition car is still likely to offer greater driving range than some other electric vehicles at a similar price to the standard road-going Soul EV.
One of the more striking features is its custom-built steel roof rack, which is constructed out of lightweight steel tubing and hand-crafted exclusively for the special edition to accommodate a pair of Tahe Bic Malibu surfboards.
But the car keeps its nautical Neptune Blue metallic paint and black roof, while featuring a series of bright white decals which flow across the bodywork.
Inside, the modifications continue with the removal of the Soul EV’s rear bench seats in favour of something more practical for tackling sea and sand.
The boot area has been totally remodelled, with the existing 315-litre boot expanded to make use of the Soul EV’s cabin, up to the back of the two front seats.
And with the rear seats removed, the larger boot has been turned into an expansive wooden deck, constructed out of PEFC-certified spruce, stained white to give a lighter seaside vibe to the cabin.
Opening the tailgate also gives access to a fold-out bench, an open-air seat made out of reclaimed wood providing somewhere to enjoy a drink.