You couldn't come up with a better definition of the concept of a fool's errand: a 500 mile drive in a Mini E. A car that does 100 miles between ten hour charges. If you're lucky. And worse still, it was my idea.

The object of the exercise is to find out what life will really be like for EV drivers over the next couple of years. Next year, Renault's electric production cars go on sale. The year after, Nissan's Leaf turns up. So is the UK ready? We're on a mission to find out.

Yesterday we collected the Mini in Brighton, then made it 130 miles north to Luton - but only thanks to a 4-hour splash and dash at home in Surrey. Assuming you can 'splash' 240v current, that is.

Today, we're aiming for one of the public charging bays at Sheffield's Meadowhall shopping centre, and then on to Scotch Corner tonight, with a following wind.

Right now I'm nervously waiting as the Mini tops up its batteries from the mains at family's house in the midlands. Can't get it close enough to the house to use the supplied cable, so I'm struggling along with a 13 amp extension reel which, every half hour or so, overheats and safety-trips itself off. It's keeping me busy just getting power into this car.

Motorway progress is slow and steady in the Mini E. If you want to travel 100 miles between charges, you need to stick like glue to 60mph - no faster. And if you can, get tucked into the slipstream of something tall, wide and limited at 56mph, like the HGV I followed around the M25 yesterday. It was transporting a boat not much smaller than HMS Belfast, and sucked me along for miles in it's wake almost consumption-free.

Come back tomorrow for an update on whether we make it beyond Harrogate tonight, and then on to Scotland tomorrow. And if you know of any three-phase charging stations in the north east, feel free to tip me the wink.