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Kia Soul EV Boardmasters Edition: Beach cruiser for surfers

The British Kia offshoot has optimized a pre-series vehicle of its electric SUV to meet the needs of surfers. A lot has happened on the chassis.

Few other athletes have such specific demands on their wheels as surfers. The space available for transporting goods should be right, after all, the board always has to go with it. The car should also be reasonably off-road in order to be able to get as close as possible to the waves. And ideally there is a place to sleep directly on board; once the perfect spot has been reached, as a surfer you don't want to spend time commuting between the beach and the hotel.

"Challenge accepted!" was the motto recently at the British Kia offshoot. This appears as the main sponsor of the surf and music festival Boardmasters, which takes place from 11th to 15th August in Cornwall. At the event in the south-west corner of England, the brand will be showcasing a surfer-specific electric SUV that was once a pre-production model of the Kia Soul EV. The concept car still has its original Neptune blue paintwork and a black roof, but has several white stickers to identify it as a special representative of the series.

Show car instead of scrap press

First things first: Nothing has changed on the electrician's drive. In the Boardmasters Edition, too, the Korean relies on its 150 kW /204 hp electric motor with a maximum of 395 Nm. This draws its energy from a 64-kilowatt-hour battery, which, with this special soul, should not be long enough for the usual range of 450 kilometers. Nevertheless, the unique piece is ecologically valuable. It's effectively a recycled car because like most pre-production cars, this Kia Soul EV would otherwise have been scrapped.

If you take a closer look at the show car at the Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach venues, you will primarily discover changes to the chassis. The elevation of 7.6 centimeters requires modified spring struts as well as a changed chassis geometry, which is reflected in a massively widened track width (1,675 instead of 1,565 millimeters at the front; 1,690 instead of 1,575 millimeters at the rear). And with a greatly increased ground clearance: instead of 153, the Soul body now hovers 310 (front) or 320 millimeters (rear) above the ground. Instead of the standard 17-inch aluminum rims with 215/55 R17 tires, white 16-inch off-road rims with 265/75 R16 Maxxis Bighorn tires with deep tread are used. The diameter of a wheel is now 30 inches, which is why the Kia technicians had to adjust the bulkhead and footwells at the front.

Two surfboards on the roof

In the Boardmasters Edition, the Kia Soul EV offers a tailor-made roof rack made of lightweight tubular steel that can hold two surfboards.At the front sits a pair of LED auxiliary lights, while the solar panel mounted behind powers a mini fridge or other equipment. However, the light beam collector is not linked to the traction battery of the Kia Soul EV. Instead, it delivers its juice to an extra twelve-volt battery via an inverter.

Despite the roof rack, the tailgate can be opened without restriction. The rear seats gave way to a white-stained spruce landscape, which is intended to give the Boardmasters Edition a sea atmosphere and can also serve as a place to sleep. If the tailgate is open, a seat made of reclaimed wood can be folded out, in which evenings around the campfire or other romantic events can be enjoyed. You can also hang up wet things here. The front of the Kia Soul EV is unchanged: the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system offers connectivity via Apple Carplay and Android Auto, while the Harman/Kardon sound system provides musical entertainment with its ten speakers.

Conclusion

It's great that Kia UK is giving a second life to a Soul EV that would otherwise have been scrapped. In the Boardmasters Edition, the small electric SUV actually looks really cool. Perhaps a corresponding series-built special model would boost the model's hitherto low sales figures a little?

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