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Toyota Highlander To Go Full Electric: Reports

The current Toyota Highlander | Photo: Toyota
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Daniel Rufiange
The Grand Highlander would continue its career with a gasoline engine and electrified solutions.

With Earth Day just around the corner, it’s an electric week at Auto123 as we turn the lights towards noteworthy developments in the EV segment.

•    The next generation of the Toyota Highlander may well switch to an all-electric configuration.

Toyota hasn't been the most active company when it comes to developing all-electric vehicles. That's no secret. The company has always believed that it was more relevant to offer a variety of solutions to consumers.

However, it does have specific plans for electrification, as per reported on yesterday by Carbuzz. And those plans include the possible switch of the Highlander three-row SUV to an all-electric configuration.

Journalist Paul Eisenstein reports that Toyota is planning to convert that model, plus that Lexus intends to produce a version of its own, under the names TZ450e and TZ550e. Which, as it happens, have already been reserved for trademark in Europe.

The Highlander would continue to be sold alongside the Grand Highlander, which was introduced last summer. That SUV would retain its gasoline configuration, but possibly in plug-in hybrid form, in addition to the hybrid configuration currently in use.

To bZ, or not to bZ?
The other interesting detail reported concerns the model's name. As we know, Toyota used bZ4X for its first all-electric model, the letters bZ standing for "beyond zero". A bZ3X is already on sale in China, and there have already been rumours of a bZ5X for a possible three-row SUV to be offered in North America.

However, according to Carbuzz, Toyota doesn’t plan to adopt this type of nomenclature for all its future electric models.

There is speculation the bZ3X, a compact SUV, will be available in 2026, with an equivalent version offered under the Lexus banner. An electric compact sedan is also planned for around then.

In regard to a possible electric Highlander, Toyota might keep the name, which is after all popular and familiar to buyers. 

Keeping the name might thus make sense. Sales of the bZ4X have been slow since the model's arrival. This is partly due to its limited range and relatively small 150-kWh charging capacity, but it might have to with its name, an awkward collection of letters/numbers with no connection to traditional Toyota buyers. An electric Highlander could be much more appealing.

Keep in mind, none of this is confirmed at this point.

The Toyota Highlander was renewed in 2020, so the 2026-2027 horizon seems quite logical for a next generation. One that could be all-electric.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists