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When you drive with the intentions of no assist or regen, that is when you are driving the most efficient.

The IMA assist isn't for fuel economy, it is there to provide a 'boost' to acceleration when needed. This was something that seems counterintuitive at first until you really think about it. If you are getting on the gas hard enough to induce assist, you are accelerating hard and therefore burning excess fuel. Problem is for 'average' people, they are so used to jackrabbit starts that driving like a turtle is mentally painful at first, their impatience gets the best of them.

If you were to browse through the king of fuel efficiency's posts (Wayne Gerdes) on his site CleanMPG, you will find this out.

Basically, the more you use assist, the more you have to give up efficiency to recharge that energy you spent. Since there is no system that there is no waste, a lot of energy is wasted in resistance in the transfer of that energy, both ways. So in essence, minimalizing assist means you are using less fuel to accelerate up to speed (lower rpm) and less energy needed to be replaced from regen.

A good target for acceleration is around 2k rpms or LESS. Not always practical; merging on highways, climbing hills/mountains, flow of traffic.
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