The Strange Reason King Charles' Car Emits Wine And Cheese Smells

While it comes as no shock that being royalty comes with a luxurious lifestyle most people can only dream of, some royals use their power and fortune to acquire quirkier things than others. Take for example the recently-crowned King Charles III, whose interest in environmental sustainability led him to modify his classic Aston Martin in a way more befitting Willy Wonka than James Bond.

According to BBC News, the British monarch had his classic Aston Martin — a blue 1970 DB6 Volante convertible, which he received as a gift from his mother for his 21st birthday — retrofitted in 2008 to run on white wine and cheese. As ludicrous as that sounds, there is actually a reasonable explanation for it. As Forbes explains, the king doesn't really fuel up his car by pouring a bottle of Chardonnay into the tank. Instead, the car has been converted to run on E85, a type of ethanol biofuel that is made with 15% gasoline and 85% bioethanol, which is made by fermenting sugars in plant and food matter. 

While most E85 fuel comes from corn or cane sugar, the fuel in King Charles' car is derived from undrinkable leftover wine and whey created as a byproduct of the cheesemaking process.

A cheesy idea

While having a car that runs on E85 is not particularly novel, having a classic Aston Martin from the 1970s that is powered on anything but traditional gasoline is a little rarer, since, as Forbes notes, it is easier to convert newer cars with more computerized engine systems. According to Gizmodo, the then-prince told the Telegraph in 2018 that he had to push a team of engineers at the iconic car company to modify the vehicle after being met with some resistance. "The engineers at Aston said 'Oh, it will ruin the whole thing,'" Charles relayed. "I said, 'Well I won't drive it then,' so they got on with it and now they admit that it runs better and is more powerful on that fuel than it is on petrol."

While the royal Aston Martin may run just fine on this incredibly unique biofuel option, experts have stressed that this is not the best way to cut down on fossil fuel consumption. Although E85 does burn cleaner than traditional gasoline and comes from renewable resources, critics note that it comes with problems like increased land use for crops. While cars that run on fuel made from food waste or manufacturing byproducts like Charles' wine-and-cheese-mobile are better, it's not something that can be mass-scaled easily. 

As fun as the idea is, it's unlikely the King's "delicious smelling" biofuel will catch on anytime soon.