Suzuki taps two-speed transmission by Canada’s Inmotive to power EVs

Electric vehicles from Suzuki could have two-speed transmissions designed by a Toronto-based engineering firm, even though the automaker has no plan to sell its vehicles in Canada and the United States.

Inmotive, which unveiled its Ingear transmission design more than two years ago, announced Jan. 10 that it has signed a joint development agreement with Suzuki to develop its Ingear two-speed EV transmission for a future Suzuki electric vehicle.  Neither Inmotive nor Suzuki would say when a vehicle with the transmission will be on the market.

“This partnership with Suzuki exemplifies the value that the Ingear two-speed transmission can bring to electric vehicles, including cost, range, performance and efficiency improvements,” Inmotive CEO Paul Bottero said in a statement. “Jointly developing our technology for a future Suzuki vehicle is a big step toward commercialization and realizing Inmotive’s vision of accelerating the global evolution to affordable zero-emission mobility.”

EVs are typically single-speed; the company states the Ingear two-speed transmission adds 15-per-cent efficiency to the power train at a lower cost. The company claims the transmission extends a vehicle’s range and improves acceleration times, highway passing capability and top speed.

Inmotive, founded in 2010, does not manufacture the components but rather licenses the design to other auto manufacturers and suppliers.

Suzuki, Japan’s fourth-largest automaker, withdrew from the U.S. auto market after the 2012 model year and from Canada after 2014 because of weak sales, especially of its XL7 compact SUV. Suzuki sold just 3,071 vehicles in Canada that year, giving it a 0.2 per cent market share, according to statistics from the Automotive News Research and Data Center.

At the same time, Suzuki also sold its 50-per-cent share in a joint venture assembly facility in Ingersoll, Ont., to General Motors. Suzuki still sells motorcycles, ATVs and marine products here. A spokesperson for Suzuki in Japan said the company has no plans to sell cars or trucks in Canada or the United States.

In 2021, Suzuki sold 2.76 million vehicles worldwide, according to Its strongest market is India, where it sells more than 1.5 million vehicles every year.

Suzuki president Toshihiro Suzuki told reporters during India’s biennial car show on Jan 11 that it has partnered with Toyota Motor Corp. to learn how to apply EV technology to build small electric cars.

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