Better Place, the developer of an electric-car and battery-charging project, announced Monday it has signed cooperation agreements with 19 leading Israeli companies to test the suitability of its model for their fleets. "Leading Israeli companies understand the strategic importance of meeting one of the greatest challenges of our world today: dependence on oil and the effect it has on our economy, environment and security," said Moshe Kaplinsky, CEO of Better Place Israel. "The team of Better Place in Israel will work in full cooperation with the companies signing the agreement, to enable them to switch to electric-car transportation and offer them environmental and economical solutions." The companies are from the hi-tech, pharmaceuticals, finance and manufacturing sectors. They include Israel Corporation, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Partner Communications, Pelephone Communications, Orange Communications, Matrix IT, Direct Insurance, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Netafim, Keter Plastics, Orbotech, Manpower Israel, and Glasshouse Technologies. Under the terms of agreement, Better Place will commence with the design and setup of recharging points for the companies' electric cars for workers and install them at the companies' parking lots and employees' homes. Better Place said it would work closely with the companies' managers and employees in the planning and deployment of the infrastructure. The companies' workers will take part in workshops and seminars on the environment, green transportation, the Better Place model and the advantages of the usage of electric cars. There is no commitment of the participating companies to switch to the electric car model. "We are today getting the proof that there is real market demand for electric cars that will use Better Place's grid," Better Place CEO Shai Agassi said Monday. "We expect demand to grow gradually as Israeli companies and other countries join our vision, which together represent a potential global market of 50 million cars. What we are seeing today is only the tip of the iceberg of global demand expectations." Better Place and automotive giant Renault-Nissan plan to have the usage of electric cars, thousands of charge spots and several swap stations ready around the world, including Israel, by the beginning of 2011. Better Place is also working with its partners to install the infrastructure for the deployment of recharging points in Denmark, Australia, California and Hawaii by 2010.