Public Perception of Electric Vehicles on Reddit and Twitter: A Cross-platform Analysis


Electrified mobility such as electric vehicles (EVs) is a promising solution to reduce carbon emissions in transportation and mitigate global warming. Understanding public perception of EVs can help better support their adoption. A previous study shows that online social networks (OSNs) such as Reddit can be a valuable source for studying public perceptions of EVs and provide different perspectives from traditional methods that leverage surveys, questionnaires, or interviews. Our work aims to investigate this direction further through the following research question: Given the distinct mechanisms of various OSNs, can we obtain a more comprehensive picture of public perception of EVs by integrating the analysis from different platforms? Specifically, our study is based on EV-related discussions on two popular OSN platforms: Twitter and Reddit. We have collected 3,437,917 Reddit posts (including 274,979 submissions and 3,162,938 comments) and 7,383,327 Tweets between January 2011 and December 2020 and analyzed them from several perspectives. Our analysis shows that users have had different topic and sentiment patterns in EV-related discussions on the two platforms over the past decade. We also leverage the verified account information on Twitter to reveal that the most influential users are politicians and news media; however, the general public has very different conversation patterns with the two types of accounts — politicians seem to be increasingly (over) optimistic about EVs while the public may think differently.

See publication:
This publication pertains to:
Systems of Systems
Publication Authors:
  • Tao Ruan
  • Qin Lv
It appeared in:
Peer-reviewed technical journal

● The first-ever study to compare the public perception of EVs on cross platforms

● Large-scale datasets on Twitter and Reddit have been collected over the past decade

● Different information can be obtained from Twitter and Reddit

● Reveal the topic and sentiment dynamics of public perception of EVs in 10 years

● News media and politicians are the most active users in EV discussions

cross-platform, Twitter, Reddit, electric vehicles, public perception, topic modeling, computational social science