Kia has recycled an old Soul EV for this new surf-ready concept. Read on for full details.
- Kia Soul EV Boardmasters concept revealed
- One-off special design
- Recycled materials used throughout
- Same 64kWh battery as the production Soul EV
- Custom roof-rack
- Sand-friendly tyres
- Raised ground clearance
- Solar panels
- Rear seats replaced by decking
Kia has created a one-off version of its funky Soul electric crossover, designed especially for the Boardmasters surfing event in Cornwall taking place this week.
Kia Soul EV Boardmasters design
That’s thanks to the fact that its standard 17-inch alloy wheels have been binned and replaced with 16-inch bright white steel wheels, fitted with massive 265/75 R16 Maxxis Bighorn sand tyres — designed for use in off-road rallies like the Dakar. Those tyres are 30-inches across and needed major structural surgery up in the Soul’s wheel arches to make them fit.
The suspension has been altered from standard, too. There are new struts, and the track has been widened from 1,565mm as standard at the front to 1,675mm, while the rear track has swollen to 1,690mm.
The ground clearance, a mere 153mm on a standard Soul EV, has more than doubled now — 320mm at the back and 310mm at the front. Kia reckons that even with the Soul’s standard front-wheel-drive layout, that clearance and the electric motor’s 395Nm of torque mean that it’s now able to tackle pretty much any terrain you throw its way. Certainly, it’ll be fine on a nice, flat, Cornish beach.
Kia has admitted that the massive tyres and taller suspension might not be so good for the Soul EV’s range, from the same 64kWh battery pack as the standard road-going model.
There’s also a hefty roof rack to factor into those range calculations. It’s been made from easily-recycled steel tubing and has been designed especially to carry a pair of Tahe Bic Malibu surfboards, which measure seven feet and nine inches from nose to tail. Even with those fitted,
Kia says that the rack’s compact design means that it can slip under normal height restrictions, in spite of the fact that thanks to the mods, the Soul EV Boardmasters is some 255mm taller than Kia’s largest production model, the Sorento seven-seat SUV.
Even so, the rack has been designed so that the boot hatch can still be fully opened. For exterior lighting, there is a roof-mounted solar panel and a pair of Lazer ST4 Evolution LED spotlights.
All of that exterior customisation is topped off by a suitably nautical ‘Neptune Blue’ colour scheme, with white detailing down the sides, and a contrast black roof (if you can see it under the surfboard rack).
Kia Soul EV Boardmasters interior
Inside, the first thing you’ll notice about the Soul EV Boardmasters is that there are no back seats. It must be that most surfers are too busy catching waves to worry about hauling kids around?
Instead, there’s a white-stained wooden deck, which has been made from PEFC-certified spruce wood, which Kia says “comes from forests managed sustainably in line with strict international standards.”
While this all looks very nice and sea-sidey, Kia says that it’s also a practical solution, helping to keep water off the floor of the cabin, and also stopping sand sliding down into cracks in the interior trim. We all know how painful sand in cracks can be…
Open up the tailgate and you’ll find a fold-out bench seat, which has been made from reclaimed wood. There’s also a swing-out arm, which allows you to hang out wetsuits and other damp stuff to dry. Or you can hang a big towel from it, to give you a little more privacy for getting changed.
The solar panel that charges the exterior lights also sends power to an auxiliary outlet which can be used to power a mini-fridge, or other accessories. It’s independent of the main battery, so there’s no impact on driving range if you’re using it to cool some drinks.
Up front, the cabin is pretty much the same as the standard Soul EV’s, so you get the usual 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a ten-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system.
The Soul EV Boardmasters will be on display on Kia’s stand at the 2021 Boardmasters event which runs from 11-15 August across two sites on the Cornish coast — Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach.
Kia Soul EV Boardmasters price and on-sale date
Sorry, they’re only building one and it’s not for sale. If you’re keen to replicate it though, you can always modify your own Kia Soul EV to replicate this one-off.
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