Only five of the UK’s biggest theme and adventure parks currently offer electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities but the situation is set to improve in the coming months, according to a new study by the RAC.
Just Thorpe Park in Surrey, Chessington in London, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Crealy in Devon and M&Ds in Scotland provide EV chargers for visitors – but many attractions in other regions offering none at all. At the five parks that have some provision, the average number of chargers on offer is four.
The parks that currently don’t offer charging facilities include Legoland Windsor, Alton Towers as well as Gulliver’s sites in Cheshire, Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire and Wales. But Legoland and Alton Towers have committed to chargers by the end of 2023.
The RAC study also looked at the nearest ultra-rapid chargers to top theme parks, and found they were an average of seven miles away, with each offering an average of five chargers each. In some parts of the country, drivers need to travel further, with the closest ultra-rapid chargers to Pleasurewood Hills in Suffolk and Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire being 25 miles away.
When compared to Europe, Efteling in the Netherlands has capacity for 174 electric cars to charge at once, while PortAventura in Spain can accommodate 150 cars charging, and Europa Park in Germany offers 32 chargers. But Disneyland Paris and Gardaland in Italy have just four chargers each.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Even though most people visiting adventure and theme parks in electric cars will be starting out fully charged from home, many will still need to charge on the way back depending on the length of their journey and their vehicle’s range. For those travelling considerable distances to reach them it surely makes sense to have some chargers at theme parks as cars will be parked for long periods, making slower chargers ideal.
“It’s a little disappointing therefore to find some big-name attractions aren’t yet providing any charging facilities, but the situation is thankfully changing with several having stated they’re looking into installing chargers in the near future. We look forward to these plans becoming a reality to make drivers’ lives easier.
“As things stand, families with electric cars who need to recharge after enjoying a day out will no doubt be relying on ultra-rapid chargers to get on the move again as quickly as possible. Our research shows drivers will have to travel only an average of seven miles from a theme park to reach one of these, although in some parts of the country the distance is considerably further. Fortunately, with every month that passes provision is improving and in fact over the last 12 months the number of ultra-rapid chargers in the UK has nearly doubled to 8,772.**
“Some leading theme parks in other parts of Europe are currently putting the UK in the shade when it comes to more extensive electric charging infrastructure. As they’ve decided it’s right to put chargers for their visitors in place, we now need all major theme park operators in the UK to come to the same conclusion.”
Quentin Willson, automotive journalist and founder of the EV campaign FairCharge, added: “Theme parks are an obvious example of how we need to make sure the UK’s future charging infrastructure really is joined up. Parks, attractions, museums, holiday centres, hotels and leisure facilities need to have plenty of chargers for visitors in EVs. Drivers will base their leisure choice destinations – as many already do – on if there are reliable charging facilities. This is the future.”