I think the govt will be a little bit experimental with this project as its low risk/profile
Nah, I think they are just suckers for a sales spiel.
And flush with cash from their electricity and titles office privatisations, they are even more susceptible than normal to the salesmen.
Remember the NSW public service no longer has any significant engineering talent to evaluate technical bids for the supply of services, they were all made redundant years ago. The various government agencies are now totally at the mercy of the vendors and consultants for advice.
These wirefree boondoggles are adding system cost - both in capital and running costs and these extra costs will be rolled out as arguments against the cost-effectiveness of any future proposed extensions.
I'll still be very surprised if the Newcastle tram actually gets to putting rails in the ground, and even if they by some miracle manage to start operations, I don't give it many years before it gets mothballed like that line in Spain. After 5 years when the ACR battery packs need replacing, that will be the end of it. 'cost effective' buses will be called in to replace the 'expensive' tram.
Don't get me wrong, I want guided electric transport to spread out over our cities. Bundling in extra system costs doesn't help that aim, however.
And yes battery electric cars are rising fast - but their duty cycles are WAY different from a public transport vehicle. Private cars spend lots of time sitting idle giving ample time to charge the batteries. PT vehicles spend many continuous hours on the road being worked hard. Charging time is non-revenue down time.
I'm also less than impressed with my experience of the BYD electric buses in London. A bus less than a year old, with 78% charge showing on the control panel would start flashing 'please refuel' every time the driver applied power. The battery pack was suffering from 'voltage depression', and in bus terms, the bus was still new. 'Borismaster' hybrid electric buses running with their diesel roaring all the time because their battery packs had failed so the engine had to supply the full electrical load 100% of the time.
I'm afraid I have no faith in effective 'autonomous electric' PT. Batteries are still not up to the harsh operating conditions. Stick up an overhead wire and make it simple, reliable and long-lived.