Arlington Municipal Airport is about to hit the world stage. The world’s first all-electric passenger aircraft nicknamed Alice, is about to take flight. Last week, the plane developed by Israeli company Eviation had engine testing. Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay indicated that Alice is just weeks away from its first flight. All eyes will be on Arlington when this debut flight takes to the air.

The plane is powered by batteries, similar technology to a cell phone or an electric car battery. Just 30 minutes of charging and the nine-passenger Alice will fly for about one hour. That flight will encompass close to 440 nautical miles, and fly as fast as close to 290 miles per hour (250 kts) at cruising altitude. In comparison, a Boeing 737 has a high-end cruise speed of nearly 590 miles per hour.

Eviation has developed three aircraft prototypes. There is a commuter version, a cargo version, and an executive version. The commuter aircraft currently in testing can carry nine passengers along with two pilots, and 850 pounds of cargo. The cargo version can hold 450 cubic feet of volume, while the executive aircraft spaciously seats six with 450 cubic feet of volume for cargo.

The company focuses solely on electric air travel, with expansion plans in 7 to 10 years of aircraft that can seat 20 to 40 passengers. Being all electric, the company says commercial jet maintenance and operating costs should drop by up to 70 percent.

CEO of Aero Consulting Experts notes, “The stumbling block is the battery technology just like with cars, but more so in airplanes. This is because with airplanes, the concern is the weight. As soon as we have better battery technology, which I suspect will be in two or three years, that’s when all these electric airplanes will eventually come.”

Beyond battery technology, other challenges lie ahead. They include Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and regulations, the ability to fly longer distances such as cross-ocean flights, and aircraft passenger capacity. As Aimer said, “The first step would be to try these in a commuter market or charter market.” Bar-Yohay added, “Once we start seeing planes like this, the entire way we look at where we live, how we commute, how we go on vacation, will change. It will be a high-speed train without the rail.”

And in the next few weeks, all eyes will be on Arlington as the test passenger aircraft takes its first flight. Will flying cars be next?