New research has indicated that car manufacturers are currently being forced to focus on optimising internal combustion engines ahead of researching and building new technology. Accountancy firm KPMG claims that European Union legislation governing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is currently diverting investment away from innovation in the industry. The company's Global Automotive Executive Survey 2015, which surveyed 200 senior employees, found that nearly half (49 per cent) consider 'optimisation of the internal combustion engine' to be one of the major issues for their company. The figure is an increase on the 40 per cent measured last year. John Leech, UK head of automotive for KPMG, said: 'The drive to optimise the internal combustion engine is fuelled by growing environmental pressures. 'In the UK, manufacturers are principally focused on the EU CO2 rules, which set targets for vehicle manufacturers that correlate with vehicle weight.î By contrast, only three per cent of those surveyed said that they were working on self-driving cars. Speaking to Fleet News, two manufacturers said that whilst the combustion engine was taking up a lot of their time and energy, this investigative process still complemented other technological developments, such as the 'next generation' hybrids. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is a leading supporter of the new government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) which is headquartered at Warwick University. æCosting £500 million to set-up, it's been established specifically to help develop cleaner internal combustion engines, as well as new manufacturing technology for electric motors. A JLR spokesman said: 'For us, there's much more to come from the internal combustion engine _ and that includes the growing potential of hybrid engines and mild hybrids.î 'JLR has doubled investment in powertrain management over the past five years. This has manifested itself most clearly, so far, with the Jaguar XE which has emissions of 99g/km. But these developments are in conjunction with what we're doing to create self-driving cars.î