The International Energy Agency said mass deployment of alternative vehicles would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut the use of petroleum products.
Lew Fulton, a transport analyst at the IEA, said electric vehicles are a way to boost energy security while offering an affordable alternative to conventional fuels.
"Most major auto manufacturers have announced their electric vehicles and/or plug-in hybrid production plans, which add up to 0.9 million units by 2015 and about 1.4 million units per year by 2020," he said in a statement. "However, it is well below existing national sales targets of about 1.5 million in 2015 and 7 million in 2020."
The IEA said global targets for electric vehicles represent only a fraction of the 1 billion cars expected on the roads by 2020, however.
The agency in a May report found that energy consumption in electric motor-driven systems makes up about 19 percent of the global electricity demand, eclipsing the electricity used for lighting.