“ARE you actually having a laugh?” I ask my smirking PA as she inserts two property inspections into my diary for the same day.  

So, visiting Newton Property Management’s most southerly and northerly housing sites in one day, Gretna to Ullapool, a distance of some 300 miles? My fault I suppose, for suggesting I could probably do it … and in a fully electric car.  

I admire Teslas – and all that the company stands for – but I’m also a traditionalist at heart and love the idea of driving something British.  
So this trip has to be done in the Jaguar I-Pace and our good friends at Parks Jaguar Ayr kindly offer me their demo for what would prove to be the most eye-opening couple of days. 

Key to the trip would be registering with the Charge Place Scotland network and receiving their smart card, which costs a mere £20. 
Being a selfless soul, I also wanted to share the experience with my other directors so I invited three to accompany me for the various legs (nothing to do with maybe needing one to walk if we need help). 

It’s 8am and stage one takes us from Park’s showroom in Ayr, down the A76/A75 to Gretna and our customers’ Empire Park development, a smart site of generously sized villas, so close to the border you could almost touch it.  I take the first leg of the drive to Gretna. Ensuring that all of the energy saving functions and eco drive mode are on the I-Pace simply gobbles up the miles and we are there in no time. Starting with an indicated 289 mile range, we are just shy of 200 miles in the battery when we arrive at Gretna.  

Stage two was straight up the M74 to our Glasgow office and swap drivers Le Mans style.  Our finance director, William takes over for this leg.  A recently retired professional football referee, he puts the car into sports mode and we blast on to the M74.  
This thing shifts like nothing you have experienced. 

It must be something about football referees being trained  to put their foot down but the range is evaporating fast. In a moment of panic, we check the Charge Place Scotland App on our phones and seeing one is free, we dive into Abington for a quick “zap and dash” at a 50kw rapid charger, our first experience of the pubic charging network.   
Wondering why it’s not charging as quickly as I thought it would, I realise I’ve plugged in the  type 2 AC charger, rather than the DC rapid charger. Error corrected and just 30 mins later we have added over 100 miles to the range and set off again. 

A quick change in Glasgow, then our HR & Operations director Kirsten takes the wheel for the third leg. Maybe because she is used to getting the best out of people, or maybe it’s because she has small feet, but she seems to be making this thing run on black magic.
 The range is hardly dropping at all, a useful demonstration of how one’s driving style can affect the range.  

We arrive in Perth for another quick zap and dash, this time thankfully accomplished the first time on a 50Kw rapid charger. Perth Broxden services is the real start of the Electric A9, territory most EV drivers used to think was the barren edge of the Earth, where none but the insane would venture.  

No longer. Easily navigating the mobile phone app, we can see that there are now dozens of public charge points all the way up the A9, which ones are in use and which ones are free. The furthest distance between charge points is no more than 40 miles.  

It transpires that we don’t need any because Kirsten has this journey – and the car – well sussed. We arrive at our Inverness office with over 100 miles left in the battery. The last leg of our journey is on the simply stunning A835 from Inverness to our newly appointed Compass housing site in Ullapool and is driven by Ross, our MD for North Scotland. After a brief stop at Dingwall for the final zap and dash – and some fish and chips – we set off again. 

Ross is Driving Miss Daisy: he seems intent on catching a following wind (or something) to save energy. I ask him what the problem is and he replies that he’s saving money.  Ross, I reply patiently, “We’ve got the smart card. The electricity is free!” 

And suddenly we’re off. Do you recall that scene in Star Wars when the Millennium Falcon goes into hyperspace in a stellar blur? 
Derek MacDonald is joint managing director of Newton Property Management