Unlike traditional internal combustion engines, electric motors can get away from having multi-speed transmissions due to the fact that it produces a consistent amount of power on a broad RPM range. Simply put, electric motors don't have to switch through gears to maximize their power output.
However, when it comes to efficiency, that's where the problems arise with electric motors. As much as car manufacturers try to optimize their single gear and find a compromise between efficient city driving and highway performance, electric motors, like ICEs, will still consume more energy when it is spinning faster.
With that said, Suzuki has announced it is working with a Canadian startup company to improve its vehicles' driving performance in a wider range of driving situations.
Suzuki and Inmotive Incorporated are co-developing a two-speed transmission for electric vehicles. Essentially, both companies are working on a lightweight, compact, and highly efficient two-speed transmission that has a lower gear optimized for city driving, and a higher gear for top speed and highway efficiency.
In addition, due to the two-speed transmission having different gear ratios, Suzuki can also get away with having a more compact electric motor since it will do less work compared to a single-speed unit. This in turn will reduce costs in the long run once the two-speed transmissions go into mass production.