Kia’s UK division has revealed a one-off special edition Soul EV built in collaboration with Boardmasters. Called the Kia Soul EV Boardmasters Edition and finished in Neptune Blue, this has been designed specifically for beach life and to commemorate the launch of Boardmasters 2021. The event is a music and surf festival held in Cornwall, the United Kingdom every summer and Kia is the major automotive partner. Kia says that the car has been “re-imagined exclusively for surfers” and customized with lots of useful features.
The Kia Soul EV Boardmasters Edition started life off as a vehicle that got saved from the crusher. It was then lifted three inches and given several exterior modifications including 16-inch alloy wheels with 30-inch sand-specific tires, new struts, and revised suspension geometry. As a result, the ground clearance has increased to 12.3 and 12.5 inches in front and rear respectively. On the roof is a lightweight custom steel roof rack built from recyclable materials featuring integrated LED spotlights and an integrated solar panel. It was specifically built for the Soul EV Boardmasters Edition so that the hatch can still open normally and allow the car to avoid height restrictions. Kia says the rack can accommodate surfboards up to 7 feet, 9 inches long.
Inside, Kia removed the rear bench seat and expanded the cargo area by turning it into a wooden deck. It is constructed using PEFC-certified wood from forests that are sustainably managed according to international standards. Finished in white, the deck protects the cabin from water and sand, keeping them from getting into hard-to-reach areas. A foldout bench made of reclaimed wood has also been added along with a swing-out arm where you can hang a wet suit or towel. A built-in solar charging system lets you power small appliances sustainably via the 12-volt outlet and main inverter without sacrificing range.
The rest of the Soul EV Boardmasters Edition doesn’t change versus the standard car. It still retains the 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and Kia’s user-friendly infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Propulsion comes from the same 64-kWh lithium-ion battery as the standard Soul EV and an electric motor rated for 201 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. Due to the tire, suspension, and exterior cosmetic upgrades, however, the Soul EV Boardmasters Edition may have less range than the standard car’s 280 miles in the WLTP cycle. In the EPA cycle, the Soul EV was rated for 243 miles on a single charge and can DC charge at peak rates of 100 kW.
Unfortunately, the car never made it to the U.S. due to high demand in other global markets. It also shared its powertrain components with the Kia Niro EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric, both of which offer a similar range. With the imminent arrival of the EV6 and the second-generation Niro lineup, we’re not sure the Soul EV will ever return to the U.S. market. Since Kia’s upcoming two battery-electric vehicles are going to travel farther and charge faster, there’s no reason to bring the quirky yet boxy and adorable Soul EV back.
The Kia Soul EV Boardmasters Edition will be on display at the Boardmasters 2021 festival from August 11 to 15. It will be shown alongside the Niro EV, Kia’s bestselling EV. Kia will also host a series of yoga, fitness, and surfing sessions at its booth that festival-goers can participate in.