First of all, let me say I am not an environmental expert, nor am I an environmental activist.
I am an old Idaho Farm boy who used to love to plow all day, sunup to sundown to celebrate Earth Day. I loved the smell of ether and diesel smoke early in the morning firing up the tractors.
Later in life I lived for extended periods of time in the Netherlands, Germany and other parts of Europe with dense cities and populations. I have been on California freeways and seen and breathed the smog in LA.
Everyone's life experiences and political viewpoints color the way that they view environmental issues.
For my own 2 cents, I have a lot of environmental respect for people who plow their fields with horses, eat the food that they grow, and ride bicycles for transportation. Al Gore, sitting alone in his Jet plane, pondering global warming while tapping on his computer, scores low on my scale of environmental stewardship.
Personally, I don't intend to save the world by riding the Zero to work, but at the same time I feel good about riding it because it is powered by clean, mostly renewable local energy, it is manufactured by a US company, and it produces Zero emissions. I also think that it will last a long time, but that is a theory and not yet proven.
As far as manufacturing goes, an ebike is not that much different than a conventional bike in my view. Both vehicles have a frame, seat, suspension, controls, wheels, tires, etc. The main difference is the Electric motor vs an ICE and the battery pack. The Battery pack is all recyclable so I really don't see much of a difference in terms of environmental impact in the manufacture of an Electric Motorcycle vs an ICE bike.
In terms of environmental impact from operation goes, most of that comes down to how your local power is made. Even if your local power is coal, it still works out to be cleaner than running an ICE motorcycle. If your local power is anything but coal it is way cleaner. On top of that power plants get cleaner into the future. Here in Idaho most of our power is produced by Hydro power which is Zero emission and renewable. The rest is natural gas and some wind.
I think that the case for an Electric Car is much harder as they use 10X the energy of the Zero motorcycle to go the same distance. There is also a lot more materials of all types in a car. And that is just another reason why motorcycles are better than cars !
Honestly, I don't understand why some people are offended by EVs. If I ride an EV for 8 months out of the year instead of commuting in my pickup to work that saves more gas for everyone else. Therefore, if you like to burn gas, my Zero is saving some for you. Be happy.
Here is the Zero Motorcycles Environment page for their perspective: