Students’ Innovative Creations on Display at SMUD’s Annual Solar Car Race

SACRAMENTO -- Hundreds of students from the Sacramento area made their way to Consumes River College Wednesday for SMUD’s 13th Annual Solar Car Race.

It took Samuel Metune and his partner two weeks to finish their solar panel race car. Metune is giving all the credit to his partner for the concept.

"So my original design was actually just a square, kind of like a rectangle shape but my partner came up with this design, which made it much more effective," he said.

The School of Engineering and Sciences student was hoping his car could blow past the competition at the race.

"First we were just told to make the car, the race was optional," Metune said. "My partner and I wanted to join in. We thought it’d be fun, maybe take home a trophy."

It may not be Nascar but the races were the highlight of the event.

There are different categories for each award, like sustainability and innovation.

One car was inspired by Thomas the Train. Xavier Umeda and his partner were more worried about the style, not so much the race.

"Me and George were working on a different car in the classroom," Umeda said. "He was playing music for inspiration and one of them was Thomas the Train. So we were like, 'That would be pretty cool to do a Thomas the Train car.'"

There were cars made out of straws, water bottles and Lego blocks. SMUD wanted the young students to combine ingenuity and sustainability, allowing them to walk away with more than just a trophy.