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Four of GMs small EV fit into one parking space (Photo: GM)

General Motors is starting tests of its Chevrolet EN-V 2.0 electric vehicle to find out how the small networked vehicle functions in a simulated future urban environment. The tests of the fully networked EV are conducted in the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, a Chinese-Singaporean project located 45 kilometers outside Tianjin in northern China.

GM said the demonstration will help it to better understand how people can use low-speed transportation for their daily commutes. "This is a step forward to realize GM’s vision for sustainable urban mobility in a practical way,” said GM China President Matt Tsien.

GM believes electric vehicles will play a growing role in China's traffic infrastructure as urban pollution concerns force an official rethink of mobility policies. The US carmaker announced in late 2012 that it was accelerating the development of EVs in China.

“China has made electrification a key strategy, GM's chief technology officer, Jon Lauckner, said at the time.

In September 2011, GM opened an advanced-materials lab in Shanghai, where it will conduct research on battery technology and lightweight materials. Both are critical to the success of future electric vehicles.

The EN-V 2.0 is an EV concept GM introduced at the Shanghai Expo in 2010. It can travel up to 40 km on a single charge and, given its small size, four of the cars fit into the average parking spot.

The 30-square-kilometer Tianjin Eco-City is designed with the needs of China's increasingly urbanized makeup in mind. Eventually, the city will become a town with around 350,000 residents.